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Emma Stanworth on growing through mentorship and paying it forward

What drew you to working at Hawthorn?

Coming from journalism, I was drawn to communications as a way of helping businesses cut through the weeds of business as usual and corporate jargon. Good communications uncover what the engaging stories are that will get people behind a vision.

How would you describe Hawthorn in three words?

Scrupulous, enterprising, bold.

How do you explain what you do to your family and friends?

It’s a constant work in progress, and things can get thrown out of sync by a client crisis, but having a partner and colleagues who are supportive, and understanding is a big help.

My friends, family and (often clients) think my job is about making sure a business is featured in the Financial Times, or a CEO is interviewed on the BBC Today Programme. But really, it’s about ensuring that our client’s message is heard by the people who need to hear it in a way that supports their business objectives. To do this I help clients communicate who they are and why they’re doing what they’re doing in an authentic way.

Why is mentoring important to you?

I owe a lot to my mentors – I’m still in regular contact with my school philosophy teacher, who introduced me to the ideas and theories I went on to study in my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

I’ve found that the act of mentoring, where experienced individuals guide and support others in their journey, is a powerful tool for inclusion and equity. In my career, the knowledge, skills, and wisdom that my mentors have bestowed on me, using their experience to help me fulfil my potential, has been invaluable. My mentors have not only helped me to navigate challenges, but they’ve also inspired me to reach new heights.

Tell a bit about your role as a mentor?

After experiencing the positive impact of my own mentors, I’ve always had a strong desire to pay it forward and assist others. This is especially relevant within our industry and the broader professional services sector, which can often seem inaccessible due to the variable and elusive nature of our day-to-day work.

After experiencing the positive impact of my own mentors, I’ve always had a strong desire to pay it forward and assist others.

Hawthorn provided me with the opportunity to become a mentor through its partnership with Career Ready, a charity our company collaborates with to offer career skills, training, and guidance to local sixth formers. The dynamic, startup-like atmosphere at Hawthorn enables us to seize opportunities to genuinely assist charities and clients in need of immediate support during critical times. For instance, I personally brought my 17-year-old mentee into our workplace, offering her invaluable exposure to the office environment and introducing her to my colleagues’ networks—an experience I hope will open doors for her as she explores her career prospects.

As a mentor, I find great fulfilment in actively contributing to the growth and success of others, witnessing their progress and accomplishments. Sharing knowledge and guiding mentees not only enhances their skills but also reinforces my own expertise. While I hope that my mentee has gained fresh insights and perspectives from my guidance, I have also experienced significant personal and professional growth through the process of mentoring her.

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