Sometimes timing is everything.
I found out I had been paired up with a mentor at the same time as I was offered two chances to go and work in Moscow for a year.
I then discovered my mentor was Bridget Kendall – the BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent, former Moscow Correspondent and a specialist on Russia and East/West relations.
As a graduate of Russian and Spanish with a deep interest in the post-Soviet states it was the perfect match. (Thank you John Schofield Trust!)
When I first met Bridget I was agonising over whether to take time out from a career I had worked very hard in, with ITV News in the regions, to go and chance it in Russia. At that time, without years of experience of my own to fall back on, it was fantastic to be able to tap into Bridget’s.
At our first meeting in the BBC café I remember she gave me two very good pieces of advice: the first was to always look for those opportunities where I could learn and develop as a journalist and reporter.
The second was, ‘If not now, when?’
Getting perspective on the options I had spent weeks thinking about, from someone with such a depth of experience, was invaluable.
I am now with CNN in Moscow until the middle of the year. Although I am not reporting, I am learning more about scripting from a great correspondent, am field producing and get to work as a journalist in a very tough media climate on one of the world’s biggest stories.
Having a mentor has meant I am able to view my career more objectively and take better informed decisions about the direction I want it to go in.
It also means we have some pretty fascinating conversations too!