​Mentoring: moving beyond the brick wall

by Tolulope Olufowora

29 October 2020

Sometimes you need a helping hand or a different perspective to see past current career obstacles and finding a mentor can be a good first step.

I have been receiving mentoring support via the HFMA mentoring programme since April this year and I’ve already seen benefits. I feel more confident and better prepared for the future and I’m convinced it will help me to progress my career.

My reasons for seeking a mentor were varied. I have always been hardworking and ambitious and I am keen to develop my career within the NHS, with a move to senior management at some point in the future. However, having worked in capital accounting for 12 years, with roughly six of those cumulatively working in the NHS, I recently found myself losing self-confidence and uncertain about how to move my career beyond capital accounting.

Initially my thoughts were to acquire more certification. I am already an ACCA fellow and was looking at CIMA opportunities as well as additional qualifications with the HFMA Academy. However, it felt like I had hit a brick wall and needed help to break through it.

That is when I considered HFMA mentoring as an option to work with a more senior person in my profession to guide and support me to achieve my goal.

It was important for me to find a mentor from within NHS finance who had more knowledge and experience, but also someone who would add a fresh perspective. And they needed to be able to challenge and guide me – showing me options that could help me reach beyond my current experience.

The mentor selection process was extremely straightforward. I just indicated that I wanted a senior person in the NHS finance profession, who could support me with their experience and insight. I was able to request a preference for a male or female mentor. The HFMA did the rest and paired me with a suitable mentor for my level and desired outcomes.

Since I first met my mentor in April, the process has been working well. We have met four times via Microsoft Teams and there has already been a number of positive outcomes. My confidence has bounced back and I am now working closely with the estates development team. I have also had support to help me achieve credits to go on the West Midlands Developing Talent programme. And I have been linked with a sponsorship programme that could be of great benefit to me.

Beyond this, my mentor has also provided useful reading material and helped me to make connections with people and programmes that could be useful in my career.

Overall, mentoring for me has been nothing but helpful. As a result of the support I have received, my confidence is increasing by the day. I am feeling very positive about what the future holds, and I am confident that it will help me take the next step when the time is right.

I think to get the most out of mentoring, you just need to know what you want. And you need to be open and transparent to your mentor. I think it should be a continuous process, and I would like it to be so in my case. No one knows it all and I think we could all benefit from mentoring, whatever stage we are at in our career journey.

If you would like to find out full details on HFMA mentoring and how it can support you, please view the full details here.