The value of mentoring is priceless
Chelsey is the CEO of National Mentoring Day, founder of Broadcasting Your Business – the pitch, press and publicity programme, a 5 X award-winning business mentor, the UK’s No 1 pitching expert and author of “The Pocket Mentor.” Having won the British Bankers Association’s “Excellence in Enterprise Mentoring Award” at BAFTA and the prestigious title of “Business Mentor of the Year” awarded by Start Your Business magazine; Chelsey is recognised as one England’s top mentors. With over twenty years’ business experience to pass on, Chelsey was chosen to mentor for the Government’s Start-Up Loan initiative where she successfully mentored hundreds of start-up companies. As an expert in sales, communications, marketing, PR, media and pitching, her mentoring is well known to deliver outstanding results helping businesses raise their profile and increase their sales. Chelsey founded the UK’s National Mentoring Day to celebrate and encourage mentoring and to recognise the invaluable contribution that mentoring makes to our economy, education and society. Chelsey has made it her personal mission that every person in the UK knows how to access a mentor by 2020 and to shine a spotlight on excellence in mentoring; positioning the UK as the global leader in mentoring. The national mentoring day has already received widespread support from industry, business, education, media, celebrities and government.
Chelsey has featured extensively in the national media as a leading entrepreneur having worked in the financial markets, launched a national TV channel and floated the company on the stock market. With her passion for supporting entrepreneurs Chelsey created “The Business Model” competition to encourage female enterprise and teamed up with Dragons’ Den star Richard Farleigh to encourage more women to start their own business. As an authority on the ‘perfect pitch’ having critiqued over 1000 business pitches alongside fellow judges and also Dragons’ Den stars, Peter Jones, Doug Richards and Rachel Elnaugh; Chelsey works with companies to maximise their chances of getting investment, making their business more attractive and fundable to investors. Chelsey regularly hosts business shows, award ceremonies and events around the world from Cannes Film Festival to prestigious industry events and is a resident business expert on SKY TV. Her business advice is frequently published in leading magazines. As a widely respected business woman Chelsey is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and helping others achieve success.
You are the founder of National Mentoring Day. What motivated you to start this initiative?
The UK is 15 years behind America. The United States Presidents from George W Bush to President Obama have backed their national mentoring celebrations. They receive huge support from governors, mayors, Harvard, and celebrities like Oprah. Multinational companies and media giants including ABC, CBS, Fox News, NBC, Time Warner and Viacom all get behind the initiative and it made me think – where is our national mentoring celebration? I realised the UK didn’t have one. I wanted to recognise the great work that mentors do and thank them for their efforts, time and appreciate the invaluable contribution they make. We need more mentors to support all areas of business and society so I launched National Mentoring Day to help encourage others to mentor or seek mentoring. I know the difference it can make to people’s lives and how rewarding it is. Whilst there are hundreds of great mentoring programmes out there, nothing connected everyone together. National Mentoring Day helps unite them whilst raising awareness on the benefits of mentoring. I have created a platform where all the different types of mentoring communities can co-exist and my aim is to connect all the initiatives and programmes together. This includes enterprise, educational, ex-forces, community and ex-offender mentoring to work collaboratively to help advance mentoring and make it more accessible to those who need it not just for those who can afford it.
How do you see women changing and gaining more strength with mentoring?
I strongly believe that mentorship fosters leadership. It’s an exchange of experiences, knowledge, and power. It enables a mentee to form clear goals and set out to achieve them with the backing of the mentor. It creates the opportunity for a mentor to leverage their most valuable experiences. Mentoring is a partnership. The wisdom, encouragement, and tough love you receive from mentors is priceless. Mentoring also has the potential to trigger significant benefits on a global scale. We know that investing in women has become a new standard; from international development agencies to multinational corporations, those in leadership and policy making positions are devoting time and resources to advance women, enhance their skills, and leverage their unique contributions. Everyone has something to offer as a mentor, and everyone has something to learn as a mentee. If we can harness the power and potential of women who are committed to sharing knowledge, skills and experience, then we can accelerate women’s leadership globally and that is very exciting. Mentoring is valuable for women entrepreneurs at all stages of their journeys, and personally I have mentored many women who have been in business and then gone on to be mentors themselves.
Mentoring is valuable for women entrepreneurs at all stages of their journeys, and personally I have mentored many women who have been in business and then gone on to be mentors themselves.
How do you remember yourself as a young girl?
I didn’t follow the paths of other girls, I always had my own direction and was determined, driven and kind – always wanting to help people. I had big dreams of changing the world and even today this helps empower my clients who say I make them feel that they can achieve anything. My passion for speaking started young and I loved performing. I realised that if you added charisma to a performance it became powerful and people would listen. I now use my voice to make a difference and I’m privileged to speak all over the world. I have mentored many people to become successful confident speakers on stage and on television. I love taking women who are not confident and turning them into shining stars. Speaking skills are critically important in business and can enhance your profile more than anything else – it’s no surprise about the many business leaders are also first class speakers! I went to a convent school which is where I learnt strict values about honesty and having strong moral principles which I uphold in everything I do. Integrity means everything to me and has carried me throughout my life. I often tell my mentees if you have integrity nothing else matters. If you don’t, nothing else matters!
What are the biggest dreams that you have achieved in life?
I had many dreams! I wanted to trade the stock-market, write a book, be a journalist and a TV presenter. I ended up doing all of them and had my own business advice column in a leading magazine and launched my own TV channel. My biggest achievement is National Mentoring Day. Last year someone asked me, “Where would be your dream to hold National Mentoring Day. “I said if America has the White House, I want Parliament. Fast forward and I’ve done it. I’m honoured to have the support of Lord Young and The House of Lords in Westminster to hold the National Mentoring Day. I dreamed big and the pressure of organising something on this scale has been immense but what keeps me going is that I am paving the way for future generations and effecting change long after I am gone.
What is the most important thing in your life?
To be “a mentor of life”, helping others reach their potential and be truly extraordinary. Finding my true purpose has bought me great contentment and happiness as I get to pursue projects that I care about and that make a difference. I try to positively impact the lives of as many people as I can. I am not driven by money but how I can make a difference. This is what gets me out of bed early jumping with joy. There are so many unhappy business owners wondering around feeling unsatisfied. This is why I try to get to the heart of people’s passion and work with them to find out what they really want in life so they are fulfilled. I love mentoring because as a result of my guidance I get to see my clients succeed and share their success with them. My mentoring mission is so important to me – in these continued times of unrest the world needs mentoring! I want every person to have access to a mentor from the unemployed, elderly, veterans, homeless, families and those with mental health or disabilities. I believe that mentoring should be accessible and available to any adult, child, business or group that needs it and National Mentoring Day will help make this happen.
Like many women you are engaged with many projects and wear many hats – how do you balance your personal and professional life?
Sometimes with great difficulty so I have to prioritise. I always find time to meditate which recharges me and gives me higher work efficiency. It’s essential to manage stress, manage the situation and manage your mind – I get stressed every day but I use it in a positive way. People rarely lie on their deathbeds thinking, ‘I wish I had a better car,’ or ‘I wish I’d joined one more board!’ They think about the time they spent with the people that matter to them, the impact they made and the legacy they left. It’s time to stop worrying about the perfect balance, and instead focus on being with people we love, and doing work that truly matters and inspires others.
It’s time to stop worrying about the perfect balance, and instead focus on being with people we love, and doing work that truly matters and inspires others.
You have won many high profile awards – what does this mean to you?
I’m honoured that my accomplishments have been recognised. I’ve always been relentless in the pursuit of excellence and pushing myself to be better. It proves that what I am doing is worthwhile and is making an impact. Winning awards is a by-product of doing great work. What motivates me to work tirelessly is achieving my end goal, ensuring mentoring is accessible to everyone regardless of their social and economic status. Achieving this goal will be the greatest reward of my life.
Did you always have a mentor in your career?
I didn’t have any mentors when I started out in business and struggled on my own. If I’d have had a mentor sooner it could have saved me so much time, money and wasted efforts in trying things that didn’t work! This is one of the reasons why I help so many businesses today. We all have the opportunity to positively impact someone’s life and mentoring is the gift that keeps on giving.
We see that more and more women are aware about the value of mentoring – according to you what are the main values of mentoring?
You cannot put a price on the value of mentoring, it’s priceless. The right mentor can redefine the way you view yourself; provoke meaningful self-reflection and stir up new creative ideas whilst providing accountability. Mentoring allows us to evaluate ourselves and our skills, spot areas of weakness and make plans for improvement. As a mentor I have found mentoring to be one of the most effective ways to break down an individual’s mental limitations. I always give honest feedback and encourage people to discuss all their worries and concerns with me so we can deal with them. I bring out the best in people which massively helps their confidence grow. By sharing my own experiences and failures I can help others with their journey and avoid costly mistakes. Just one piece of sound advice can often be a catalyst of change for a mentee.
What is your biggest dream and how do you make your dreams come true?
My biggest dream is that National Mentoring Day is rolled out across the World impacting the lives of millions, bringing together world class mentoring initiatives and programmes. Mentors are one of the most valuable resources for entrepreneurs, as creators of jobs, small business owners are the engines of our economies and the cornerstones of our communities. I make my dreams come true by having total faith in myself and allowing the universe to help me deliver. I wrote a quote 20 years ago which I still live by today – “Take responsibility for yourself, never give up when you face a challenge and if you believe in something, you really can achieve it!” Believe in yourself and it will massively influence the results you get. “Nothing is impossible to the person whose vision becomes a dream”. My advice – never give up on your dreams. When faced with a mountain, climb over it or dig a tunnel through it!