Women across Thirteen #ChooseToChallenge by becoming mentors

Thirteen has partnered with charity, The Girls’ Network, to take part in its award-winning mentoring programme. Over 50 women from a wide range of roles across Thirteen have signed up to become mentors for girls across the Tees Valley. One of the Thirteen colleagues that’s signed up to be a mentor is learning and organisational development advisor, Rachel. To celebrate International Women’s Day and the work of The Girl’s Network, Rachel writes about why she’s so keen to take part.



“The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #choosetochallenge, challenging  inequality, calling out bias, questioning stereotypes, and helping forge an inclusive world.

“The Girl’s Network believes all girls, regardless of where they’re from, should have a right to access the best opportunities available to them, set high aspirations to recognise their self-worth, and to develop their capacity to shape their world.  When I heard about the work of The Girl’s network, I thought it was such a worthwhile initiative and I think it’s already ‘choosing to challenge’ through its work.

“I couldn’t wait to sign up. As a fiercely independent woman, I decided I’d like to share my professional experiences and skills with a local girl, hoping to inspire her to maximise her own potential, overcome obstacles and seize opportunities.

“We have such a strong network of female colleagues within Thirteen that have so much knowledge and experience, and I’m so pleased that the organisation has given us the chance to share this. For Thirteen to be working with the charity and supporting girls in our local area is just fantastic. I think it is progressive and powerful and shows the commitment and passion the organisation has for the community and local area. 

“After we’d filled in our applications and had our initial training session earlier in the year, the matching process started in earnest and I was over the moon when I heard I’d been matched with a local college student.

“We’ve just had our first virtual meeting and the whole experience was brilliant. I found that my mentee and I have lots in common, from reading to history, even studying similar academic subjects. I’m a former student of the same college, so this is also giving me the chance to reconnect with it and give something back to them for the positive experience I had there.

“At this first session, we focussed on getting to know one another better, using some of the fantastic resources provided by the network.  

“We’ve started a ‘vision board’ together for my mentee to add everything she would like to gain from our sessions. These have included things like identifying and building on skills and strengths ready for university and the world of work, and exploring the career path she would like to take.

“My mentee is looking to go on to university after sixth form. I’m currently studying part-time at Teesside University, so I was able to give her an insight into higher education as well.

“After the first session I felt incredibly energised! My mentee was so engaging, appreciative and positive and you could see the enthusiasm she had for the programme from the outset.

“I feel like I’ve made an impact already and I’m excited to be working with, and playing a part in guiding and supporting, her for the next year to help her maximise her potential.

“I’d recommend being a mentor for the network to any woman that would like to help girls fulfil their potential. Any woman can register their interest by applying direct to The Girl’s Network by going to their website. Better still, why not sign up today and #ChooseToChallenge?”