Taking control of your professional development

Advance is a mentoring programme designed for women in transport by women in transport. The pilot programme opened for applications in 2017 and we are now welcoming applications for a third year. Mentoring can be a powerful tool for your professional development but it does require work, dedication and commitment as shown by the experience of Josephe Dibaya, a mentee on Advance 2019.

Advance 2019 Training: Angela Gainsford with mentees Adriana Morena and Josephe Dibaya

Advance 2019 Training: Angela Gainsford with mentees Adriana Morena and Josephe Dibaya

By Josephe Dibaya

My experience with Advance is part of an ongoing journey to make the most of networking and feel more in control in my professional development. I certainly progressed with it this year!

The mentoring programme is really well organised; the initial session was a good opportunity to meet with other mentees, to share each other’s expectations, and understand a bit more about what being a mentee means.

For the first meeting with my mentor, I was quite nervous and I was pleasantly surprised. Her personality and experience make her a really good match and I wouldn’t have chosen a different mentor!

However, the success of the mentoring for me is not all down to the pairing. You get out of it as much as you put in it. My mentor was available, listened to what I had to say, and gave me some areas of reflection. In exchange, I tried to prepare each session with feedback on the agreed actions, next areas of investigation, and general comments about the politics.

Without the commitment to the monthly meetings, the breathing space to plan my next actions, the advice, support and understanding of my mentor, I don’t know if I would have been able to get the role that I was going after.

I have also found that Women in Transport presents great opportunities to expand your network. I have found there a really diverse place, embracing the inclusion challenge. All of that without forgetting the value of having diverse allies. Through the events organised, or meeting with the other mentees, I have found a very comfortable and welcoming place to enjoy and appreciate networking.

So for anyone thinking about joining the programme, you have everything to gain out of it!

Josephe joined Women in Transport last year and is a Project Manager at London Underground. Our thanks to Josephe for sharing her insight and experience and we’re delighted that she will be renewing her membership of Women in Transport for the coming year.

Applications for Advance 2020 are now open until 14 October 2019. All members of Women in Transport can apply to be a mentee on Advance and any manager level or above, man or woman, who currently works in or is affiliated with the transport sector can apply to be a mentor for Advance.

Advance 2020 is generously sponsored by TXM Recruit, Xanta Rail, Steer and Brighton & Hove Buses.