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Mentoring Conversations

‘A problem shared is problem halved’ 

During this unsettling time, the People and OD Team can offer colleagues support by arranging one-to-one conversations with colleagues from our internal network of experienced coaches and mentors. 

These confidential, typically one-off conversations, to be held virtually online, are an opportunity to discuss current challenges. This could include challenges around working as part of a remote team, strategies to help maintain good levels of wellbeing whilst working remotely or perhaps a conversation around balancing work and family commitments.  Our trained coaches and mentors will act as an objective sounding board, listening and asking questions to help you identify a meaningful way forward.

To request a conversation with a colleague from our network, or to find out more, please contact us at As part of a request and to assist with the matching process, please consider what you would like to focus on and share with us any specific current challenges or goals that you would like to discuss as part of the conversation.

Mentoring Conversations

Building a community of committed, capable people is key to our future success. That’s why our Mentoring Conversations scheme provides the opportunity for individuals to connect, learn from one another and fulfil their potential. 

The scheme focuses on building capability by providing support to colleagues at key stages in their professional development.  You’ll benefit from a supportive, yet challenging environment to focus on enhancing your performance.  The scheme is open to colleagues who have recently experienced a significant change at work and new or existing managers wanting to increase their knowledge in a particular area. We will match you together with a more experienced colleague, who can provide mentorship based on their own real-life experiences and ensure you are making the most of your talents.

If you are looking for an opportunity to benefit from meaningful conversations, please get in touch using the contact details below.

Mentoring Scheme

Ed Stout shares his experience of the Mentoring Conversations Scheme

What does mentoring involve?


 Our scheme proposes one individual meeting per month over a six-month period. This is open to individual discussions and agreement between mentors and mentees – essentially it’s whatever is reasonable and works for each individual partnership.

The mentor is there to provide additional support to that typically offered by line managers and will be taken from a different area of our University, to provide an objective and confidential sounding board. Mentees will be expected to commit time and effort to the development process and take care of arranging the location and dates for meetings.

The People & OD team will match mentees with mentors and provide development advice as required. They will also evaluate the process after six months from the perspective of both the mentee and mentor.

Want to hear more about mentoring? Listen to our podcast style recording where Leigh Beales talks about mentoring at Leeds Beckett. 

Mentoring Conversations will give new managers the confidence and tools to support and lead their teams-for me it was helpful having a person to ask simple queries to or run scenarios by, in an open, non-judgemental and supportive manner."

Mentee-Mentoring Conversations Scheme

Our Mentors

Alex Allen Right Arrow
IT Service Desk Manager
IT Services
Both Campuses
Work Pattern: Compressed Hours, 37 Hours, Monday - Thursday

I'm a father to one energetic son, born March 2016, while I did not take an extended period of time off for his birth, it was just 6 weeks, I do work a compressed working pattern to allow me to look after my son one day a week. My wife, who also works here at Leeds Beckett, works a compressed working pattern to be able to do the same. I woud be happy to chat to any prospective or new Dads about my experiences of working part time or flexibly for childcare reasons while also maintaining a career and a healthy work life balance in a two career household. 
Aneliese Jackman photo
Aneliese Jackman Right Arrow

Aneliese Jackman

School Support Officer

Leeds School of Arts

City Campus/Remote

Work Pattern: Part-time (Monday-Wednesday)


I have worked at Leeds Beckett since 2016 and have had two periods of maternity leave in that time, both 12 months in duration. My 1st child was born in 2017, where I reduced my role from full time to part-time and gained a job-share partner. My 2nd was born in 2019, just a few months before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, which meant I returned in 2020 to a whole new world of remote working. Throw into the mixture a re-structure leading to a new role, team and line manager whilst I was on maternity leave and my ‘return’ felt like that nail biting first day of a new job all over again!


I understand what it feels like to return after a long period. I have experienced both a rainbow baby and a lockdown baby and I have had to make those difficult decisions about going from FT to PT. I am happy to offer my support to anyone who needs it. You can chat to me about breastfeeding after your return to work, working with a job share, returning to an altered universe, and those all important decisions you will have to make to balance your ambition to be a super parent and great at your job at the same time!


Leigh Beales Right Arrow

HR Administrator
HR Services
Headingley Campus
Work Pattern: Part-time

I have two school aged children, a son born in 2012 and a daughter born in 2014. I was working in the NHS when I had both of my children and found it difficult returning to shift work after 9 months of maternity leave. Having time at home with both children made me revaluate my work life balance and I have been lucky enough to work at Leeds Beckett since 2015. Since joining the University, I have worked in both full and part time roles and I have felt well supported to not only do my day job but to be there for my children as well. From going part time to accommodate school drop off’ s in a different town,  to using flexi-leave to attend school assemblies; I have felt supported by colleagues at the University to enjoy a career and a busy family life.

Georgina Wood Right Arrow

HR Officer
HR Services
Headingley Campus
Work Pattern: Mondays and Tuesdays (Job Share)


I have worked at Leeds Beckett University since November 2015. I have a great job share partner, this was a new working pattern for both of us so I am happy to share my experiences of us setting up a job share arrangement and how to make it work for everyone involved. I have 2 sons, one born in 2010 and one born in 2014 who keep me very busy outside of work. I was lucky enough to take my full maternity leave for both my boys, so I understand the challenges of returning to work after a long "break", as well as juggling a part time career around my family.

Jess Greenwood Owens Right Arrow

Academic Quality Support Officer
School of Clinical and Applied Sciences
City Campus
Work Pattern: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8am - 4pm

I have 2 children (a boy – born in 2015 and a girl born in 2018) and returned to work when they were 10 months old and 8 months old. I am able to provide practical support on what it's like to return to work following parental leave and am willing to share my experience.

I have remained in the same role at the University with both children – the only difference is I used to work full time pre-children and I now work 22.5 hours per week (3 days). Both children have attended nursery and have also been looked after by grandparents for childcare, our eldest will be starting school in September 2020.

Returning to work both times took a bit of adjustment - however it was much more straightforward than I imagined, I enjoy being able to combine working and looking after the children.

Kate Kluttz Right Arrow

Lending & Operations Development Manager
Libraries & Learning Innovation
Both Campuses
Work Pattern: Full-Time


I have 1 daughter in primary school. I had 10 months maternity leave at my previous institution, returned to work on slightly reduced hours for a few months, and have been working full-time for the past few years. My husband also works full-time and we have juggled the nursery / school run between us. I am in a managerial / strategic role and (mostly) enjoy the challenges of balancing career progression with being a parent.

Kathryn Hassell Right Arrow

Student Experience Manager
Student Services
Both Campuses
Work Pattern: 30.5 hours over 3 days a week


I have 2 children, a girl born in 2012 and a boy born in 2016. I worked full-time before my maternity leave of 11 months and returned initially full-time for 2 months before reducing to 26 hours over 3 days a week. Returning to work after my first child I found rather easy, second time round it’s been much harder, so many more daily priorities to manage.  My husband works full-time and neither of us work in the same city we live in so we have had to call in the grandmas to assist on many occasions. From managing severe sickness, calculating survival on a part-time wage, arranging childcare to sleep deprivation, I’ve had my fair share of experience and would love to offer advice and support to anyone who may need it.

Kirstie Frenneaux Right Arrow
Project Manager
Enterprise Services
Cloth Hall Court - City Campus
Working Pattern: Monday  - Wednesday

I have 2 children, a boy born in 2009 who is at school and a girl born in 2013 who is in nursery. I took 12 months maternity leave and returned to work from my last period of leave in 2014. I manage staff and budgets and am happy to support on a range of issues.

Laura Taylor Right Arrow

Course Director

Leeds School of Arts

LSA, City Campus

Working Pattern: Full time


I've been on maternity leave twice in recent years. My children were both around 8 months old at the time of returning and I continued to breastfeed during this time. I am a PhD student and I have experience of finding childcare in Leeds. I have experience of mentoring people returning from Mat and Pat leave.


Linsey King Right Arrow
UG Course Director, Principal Lecturer - Nutrition and Dietetic Group, School of Clinical and Applied Sciences
City Campus
Work Pattern: Full time

I have 3 children, 2 girls and a boy born in 2008, 2010 and 2013. I have had 3 lots of maternity leave employed by the University and each was between 9 months to a year in duration, with additional annual leave added on at either end. I have been back at work since September 2014. I have returned to full time work after each of my periods of maternity leave. I drop the children off at school and my husband does pick up.
Jo Horsfall Right Arrow

Lending Services Manager
Cross Campus
Work Pattern: Full-Time


On my return to work I reduced my hours from full-time to 16 hours job-share, however since January 3rd 2018 I have been full-time. Although my daughter was born in 2000 and my son in 2001, I would be happy to share my experiences of the challenges I faced with having 2 children quite close together in age and no family support within easy reach.

Nicola Porter
Nicola Porter Right Arrow

Placements Team Leader

Business Engagement

City Campus

Work Pattern: Full time condensed (NWD on Thursdays)


I have a 3-year-old daughter who my husband and I adopted a couple of months before her second birthday. I took 9 months adoption leave and returned to work in May 2020, two months into the first lockdown. I have experience of being an adoptive parent, settling a child into nursery, adjusting back into working life in a remote setting and managing a team in often difficult and uncertain times. I am very happy to offer support to anyone else who may need it. I am completely open about being an adoptive parent and happy to offer support to anyone in a similar situation. 



Rachel Rich Right Arrow

Course Director
School of Cultural Studies and Humanities
City Campus
Work Pattern: Full time

I came back to work when my son was 6. I know something about the various ways of trying to balance life and work, and am happy to share my experiences and support colleagues trying to find the right balance for them

Susie Bradford Right Arrow

Governance Coordinator

Governance & Legal Services

City Campus

Work Pattern: Part time Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – school term time; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – school holidays

I have worked at Leeds Beckett University since 2007 in various roles within Governance. My role was full time initially but after I had my 2 children I returned to work in 2013 on 3 days a week. In 2016 my children started school and I made a further change to a non-standard work pattern.  I am happy to share my experiences around the following areas: -

  • returning from extended maternity leave
  • coping with lots of changes that had occurred during my maternity leave and since including moving campuses, changes in my line management, changes in my role and grade
  • preparing a flexible working request
  • line management whilst working part time
  • working as a job share

Faye Thompson Right Arrow

Academic Services Manager
School of Events, Tourism & Hospitality Management
Headingley Campus
Work Pattern: Full-time

I have two children: a daughter born in 2011 and a son born on Christmas Day 2013. With both children I took about 7 months’ maternity leave. In the time since I returned to work I have experience of making different working patterns successful around child care and school: working just less than full-time over 4 days, over 5 days and full-time. Just over a year ago I also became a school governor in the hope that I can use my skills, knowledge and experience to try to secure a positive educational experience for local children.

Brilliant idea, I was really glad to have someone to talk to but who wasn’t part of my normal work team

Mentee, Return to Work Mentoring Scheme

Return to Work Mentoring

Our Return to Work Mentoring Scheme has been created to support people back to work following a period of maternity, adoption or shared parental leave. This programme aims to make the transition back to work easier, by matching individuals with mentors who have experienced it themselves and are able to support based on their own real-life experiences. We hope the benefits be wide ranging – for both mentees and mentors and also our University more widely, by building a community of committed people and creating opportunities to learn from one another. The guidance document provides some further information.

What do I do next?

If you feel that this scheme could be of benefit to you, please identify based on the profiles below which mentor you feel is best placed to support you. To set up a mentoring relationship, please contact a mentor directly (by clicking on their profile picture) to introduce yourself and check their availability. Please note a mentor needs to be someone from outside your own area. If you would like to discuss the support you need or would like help choosing or contacting a mentor, please do not hesitate to contact the People & Organisational Development Team on

Review and Evaluation

At the end of the mentoring relationship the process and impact will be reviewed by both parties via confidential questionnaires. As this scheme is relatively new, this aspect is particularly important to us.

Becoming a Mentor

Why become a mentor?

Sharing your skills, knowledge and experience can be a hugely rewarding experience.  Whilst the mentor’s role is to provide guidance to others, an effective mentoring relationship will be mutually beneficial.  Developing mentoring skills means gaining excellent listening and questioning techniques, improving your communication and learning how to forge deeper, more productive relationships. 

Mentoring gives you space to reflect on your own skills and experience, which will increase your self-awareness. You will also have the opportunity to make connections in other parts of the University.   Our mentors have described valuable by-products of participating in the schemes; including learning about different subject areas or projects and widening their networks.  In short, on top of giving something back, being a mentor can enrich your own professional development. 

"I was inspired by my mentees passion for her work and the people she manages." Leeds Beckett Mentor

What is the commitment?

If you are matched with a mentee, we ask that you meet once a month for a maximum of six months.  This can vary based on the mentee’s goals – sometimes one or two meetings are enough.  The mentee is responsible for arranging the meeting dates, times and location.  All our mentors are also asked to complete a short online learning module before being matched.  Finally, we ask that you complete a brief evaluation form at the end of every relationship. 

What support will I receive?

From October 2019, all our new mentors have access to an online learning module (30-60 minutes to complete) before being matched with a mentee.  You will also receive a mentor’s resources pack, which provides all the tools you’ll need to structure and make the most of your sessions.  The People & OD team will make the connections on your behalf and help you to establish the relationship in the early days.  They will also check in with you at the half way point and the end of your time together to evaluate how the relationship has progressed from both your own and the mentee’s perspective. 


How do I register to become a mentor?

For a conversation about becoming a mentor at Leeds Beckett, please contact indicating which scheme you are interested in joining.





People and OD Team

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