Why mentoring matters

Why mentoring matters

The Power of Mentoring

The act of mentoring stretches back thousands of years. In Ancient Greece for example, Socrates mentored Plato, who later mentored Aristotle. In more recent times, prominent mentor - mentee relationships include those change-makers such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

At One Million Mentors, it is our belief that by investing in the next generation we are helping to shape the architects of a better tomorrow. Mentoring can open doors, inspire, support and encourage people to realise their potential and to achieve their dreams.  Mentors can make a profound difference in the lives of their mentee - and in turn, strengthen our communities, economy, and drive social change.

"Mentoring brings us together - across generation, class, and often race - in a manner that forces us to acknowledge our interdependence, to appreciate, in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny.” In this way, mentoring enables us to participate in the essential but unfinished drama of reinventing community, while reaffirming that there is an important role for each of us in it."

Marc Freedman - 2014 Founder and CEO of Encore.org and Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Economic Forum


Case Studies

Case study 1:  Sadiq Khan / Alvin Carpio


Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

"As Mayor of London I believe good mentoring can make a significant impact to the lives of young Londoners. Mentoring has the potential to accelerate learning, skills, networks and opportunities of our young people to realise their potential and positively contribute economically and socially to our great city. There are too many young people who are not able to fully benefit from all the opportunities that this great city has to offer. Yet there is a unique set of talents, experiences and opportunities at our disposal in London. If we can mobilise this wealth of abilities to invest in our young people; give them guidance, support and access to networks, then we can unleash potential which will not only have a direct impact on young people, but on our businesses and communities more generally. It is then that we can say we are truly open to all within London and across the world."

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London


Alvin Carpio, World Economic Forum Global Shaper

Alvin works with governments, businesses, and civil society to address poverty in the United Kingdom.  He was born and raised in East London. His mother came to the UK when she was 19 and worked as a chambermaid cleaning hotels.  His father, who died when Alvin was 9 years old, came later and worked as a waiter.  Alvin became the first in his family to graduate from university with a BA in History and Politics and has since completed a Master’s degree in social policy.  UpRising instilled a great sense of duty in him towards his community and country as well as the value of giving back. He has spent the last decade campaigning for human rights in the Philippines, working with communities in Tottenham in response to the English Riots in 2011, running soup kitchens for the homeless, advising governments in Europe and the Commonwealth about responses to youth unemployment, and lobbying for changes to policies and amendments to legislation to support people in poverty across the UK. Alvin has been lucky enough to be mentored by a Lord, a Harvard lecturer, and the current Mayor of London. He credits what he has achieved up to this point to the lessons, support, and belief his mentors have given him.

"Sadiq Khan has strengthened my belief that no matter where you’re from, you can make it to the top and change the world by making it a better place."

Alvin Carpio


Case study 2:  Christina Patterson / Emma Howard

Christina Patterson Journalist and Broadcaster

Christina is a journalist and broadcaster who writes about culture, society, politics and the arts for The Sunday Times and The Guardian. A former columnist at The Independent, she was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for her campaigning work to raise standards in nursing. She always dreamt of being a journalist, but did not know any journalists when she was young, and did not have the confidence to break into what she knew was a tough trade. When Christina finally did, in her thirties, she knew she had found her vocation. So when Emma Howard asked her to mentor her, she was delighted to offer the help she never had. Christina was impressed by Emma’s determination and ambition, and helped steer her through the application and interview process to get her first job on a national newspaper. Christina continues to offer advice and support and is thrilled to see the extraordinary progress Emma has made.

“I think it’s easy to underestimate the challenges young people face in getting a first rung on the career ladder and it’s a privilege to help them on their way.”

Christina Patterson

Emma Howard, Senior Reporter UpRising Trustee and ELN member

Emma is a senior reporter at Energydesk, the environmental news site run by Greenpeace.  She has won a British Journalism Award for her work on the Guardian’s climate change campaign “Keep it in the Ground”, and a Legal Reporting Award for her reports on the impact of cuts to legal aid.  She also worked on the Guardian’s international campaign against FGM.

Emma found Christina’s advice and support extremely useful in getting her first journalism job on the Guardian’s trainee scheme. Her mentor combed through Emma’s application, gave her a mock interview, and supported her throughout the process. Over the last few years Christina has advised Emma on numerous occasions when she has come up against the challenges of an industry she knew little about on the inside.

“My mentor has been a source of comfort. She has built my confidence to know that there is someone there to offer support when starting out in a new profession, that can at times feel overwhelming.”

Emma Howard


Case study 3:  Rushanara Ali MP / Kawsar Zaman

Rushanara Ali MP, Co-Founder of UpRising and Founding Chair of One Million Mentors

Rushanara began her career as the Research Assistant to Lord Young of Dartington (author of the 1945 Labour Party manifesto), helping him to set up Language Line, a national telephone interpreting company and Futureversity, a youth charity which has helped over a 100,000 young people – raising aspirations, cutting youth crime and getting them into work.

Rushanara credits Michael Young, among others, as an important mentor to her during her early career providing opportunities, confidence and networks which inspired her to later go into politics and get elected as the first ever British Bangladeshi MP in the UK.

Rushanara began mentoring Kawsar at the start of his leadership journey. She has enjoyed watching Kawsar grow from a student in Tower Hamlets to an emerging leader achieving success in the top academic institutions in the world, in the local community and now in the world of work. Rushanara and Kaswar continue to stay in touch.

“Growing up in the East End, I was all too aware of how cut off we were from power, from politics, and from opportunity. Having mentors gave me access to networks, gave me confidence, and helped me break into institutions like Oxford University and Parliament.”

“It’s vital we do everything we can to ensure today’s young people are not prisoners of their background because it’s sadly still too often the case that in twenty-first century Britain, too much talent is wasted, too many young people are held back, and too many are left behind. We cannot afford to lose a generation.”

Rushanara Ali MP

Kawsar Zaman, Trainee Solicitor

Kawsar was born in Tower Hamlets, the youngest of seven siblings. His father worked as a tailor’s press while his mother stayed at home looking after the children. His older siblings all having left school at 16 in order to financially support the family, Kawsar was the first – along with his twin brother – to attend university, graduating from LSE, Oxford University and Harvard Law School as a Fulbright Scholar. He is currently working as a trainee solicitor at Clifford Chance LLP and is also a School Governor at Morpeth Secondary School (where he studied), a Trustee at Toynbee Hall, and a Commissioner for the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life.

Kawsar was mentored by Rushanara Ali MP from college, through to university and then into working life. Kawsar believes many of his achievements to date have been as a result of the support and advice that Rushanara has given him. According to Kawsar, Rushanara’s commitment to his personal and professional development has been second to none. Despite her incredibly busy schedule as an MP, Rushanara has always gone beyond the ‘call of duty’ - often introducing him to other key figures in the world of law and politics.

“For young people from non-traditional backgrounds like myself, a mentor can be the difference between success and failure. To have someone with clout and experience from industry is absolutely vital in building confidence and pathways to success. Mentors can become very influential and allow mentees to think through difficult challenges together, break down barriers and open doors where necessary.”

Kawsar Zaman