Interviews and Testimonials
Reflections on mentoring
Sir Clive Johnstone KBE CB and his mentee, DU Touch Rugby Club President Anyalemma Igwe, discuss the importance of effective communication and setting boundaries in developing a good mentoring relationship. They are part of the Durham Student Leadership Framework - find out more about the Leadership Framework here: durham.ac.uk/leadership-framework
"[The Leadership Academy] not only gave me the chance to meet like-minded students, but also enabled me to put into use the skills so often mentioned, but never practised, by those claiming to offer ‘professional advice.’ This is one of the most special parts of the programme – that it does not just claim to share information with students, but that it provides numerous instances to use this information in the real world, providing irreplaceable experiences." says Erin Waks, a producer and exec member at DST.
"Ultimately, the programme has been a significant part of my development during my time at Durham. I would recommend it to any student who, like myself, has high hopes for the future, and is seeking invaluable guidance in bringing these visions to reality."
Read more from Erin here.
Experience of mentoring
Mike Barton, former Chief Constable of Durham, mentor for Special Constable Amelia Hersant of Collingwood College, shares his thoughts on some aspects of leadership. He is part of the Durham Student Leadership Framework. Find out more about the Leadership Framework here: durham.ac.uk/leadership-framework
"The Academy’s winning feature? How it varies its training. This ranges between mentoring and lectures; friendship with other students and the ability to network with other mentors; and workshops with group exercises. It combines formal teaching with soft skills that you pick up from those around you. The Academy has enabled me to offer effectiveness, friendliness, guidance, and approachability to my leadership role. It has beyond doubt helped me to develop as an individual, but more importantly to serve the best interests of Grey College JCR to make it a more inclusive and beneficial organisation for its members."
"The Academy has taught me that leadership isn’t about one person. It’s about channelling direction and the necessary skills so that communities and groups can achieve their purposes. As I prepare to leave Durham, this is something that will be essential to my future experiences," says Grey JCR President Leo Harris.
Read more of what he has to say here.
Seizing practical experimental leadership opportunities enabling a positive attitude
Zein Checri (St Mary's College, Secretary of Music Durham), and Dan Usztan (Agent with United Agents, Hild Bede alumnus) shares some of the challenges they faced at Durham University and how taking on Leadership roles has enabled them to nurture a positive outlook, meet like-minded students, while being supported to grow, achieve and discover.
"[My mentor] has offered me much help: from him I’ve gained deep insight into leadership and current affairs issues, as well as careers advice, all from an incredibly wise and experienced source. Whilst such insight and advice have been invaluable, what I appreciate most about being Clive’s mentee is that it assures me that although leadership and success are daunting, they are achievable," says Anyalemma Igwe, founder and President of DU Touch Rugby Club.
"Vice Admiral Sir Clive Johnstone, KBE, CB was also once Clive, a 2nd year Anthropology student from Hild Bede. However he’s made himself special by honing his skills and seeking new experiences. Talking with someone so exceptional but with whom I share the important commonality of the Durham experience reminds me that despite how special such great individuals seem, they too were once normal."
Read more from Anya here.
Why would you recommend the leadership programme?
Mike Barton, former Chief Constable of Durham, was interviewed for his thoughts on leadership. He is part of the Durham Student Leadership Framework, where he is the mentor for Amelia Hersant of Collingwood College. Find out more about the Leadership Framework here: durham.ac.uk/leadership-framework
"I signed up for the leadership training, thinking to myself: it wouldn’t hurt to enhance my skills and put something shiny on my CV, saying that I have done fancy training through Durham’s Leadership Programme. When me and my fellow student leaders unloaded ourselves from the coach into the training venue in Newcastle, conversations soon started to float around. It wasn’t long until I was asked the question: 'So… which exec position do you hold?'
"I was baffled. 'None' should have been the answer, but my fresher’s pride simply would not allow the truth to slip out naked. 'I am quite heavily involved with the Student Volunteering, but I haven’t got any leader position yet.'
"Yet. I tell myself quietly, but with determination. Surrounded by student leaders from various societies and sports teams, I suddenly felt a strong motivation to take the initiative to apply for positions that I was not confident enough for, and enrich my experience by taking part in all the extra-curricular activities that I am interested in, including debating, volunteering and sports." says Durham Student Volunteering and Outreach President Lijie Dong.