Ronke Phillips – Mentor

Ronke Phillips

Ronke PhillipsBeing one of the John Schofield Trust’s inaugural mentors has been a real learning curve.

I have been a mentor once before but that was a long, long time ago. I’m not sure how successful I was on that occasion.

The young woman I mentored left the media altogether for banking. She did end up earning huge amounts of money and became the first black woman to head up a country division for DeLoitte. We are still close friends and I still talk to her on a regular basis, so it worked in a way.

By coincidence my John Schofield mentee also works in the ‘business/economics’ sector.

Elizabeth Anderson is already making a mark for herself as a reporter and writer securing interviews with some of the biggest names in the business world for the website magazine, Management Today and the BBC Breakfast Business slot.

We made a pact to meet once a month and we’ve pretty much stuck to it. We chat away from the moment we say hello until we bid each other goodbye. I like to think I’m more of a friend than a favourite aunt. It’s an age thing!  She asks for advice and I try to offer guidance without ever telling her what to do. It seems to work as she keeps coming back for more. I think the Pinot Grigio helps!

The scheme is important to me on a personal level as John and I were ITN trainees together. Well he was an ITN trainee – I was with Central TV –  but we all did the same course.

We were part of a small but select group. The Sunday Times Correspondent Christina Lamb was the other Central TV trainee and Jonathon Munro was one of the other ITN trainees.

Jonathon is of course now deputy editor at ITN and if John were still alive I am certain he would be an award-winning journalist.

I like to think I am helping to keep John’s name and legacy alive by passing on the little wisdom I have built up since we trained together to the next generation.

On a purely selfish level my mentee has become a friend who is fun to be around and reminds me of the energy and enthusiasm we had as trainees. It was 25 years ago and I wish I knew then what I know now!