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My Womentoring experience – Joanna Dougherty (BScEcon 2017)

29 May 2024

Joanna graduated from Cardiff University in 2017 and is Global Operations Director of Client Experience at JLL, a global real estate company. Since leaving Cardiff, Joanna has spent her career working within client experience and relationship management programs for professional services companies. She works across JLL’s largest accounts to deliver the best experience for clients and leveraging insights to help inform strategic decision making and support business growth.  

Joanna took part in our 2024 Womentoring scheme which saw 24 mentors and 60 mentees matched. She was paired with Natalie Atkinson (BSc 2018), Assistant Planning and Development Manager at YTL Developments (UK) Ltd. and shares her experiences of being a mentor on the programme.  

Why did you decide to join the Womentoring scheme as a mentor?  

I participated in the Womentoring scheme in 2021 as a mentee and found it such an invaluable experience. So when I was invited to return again as a mentor, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pay that forward. I have always enjoyed connecting with new people and I knew this would be a great opportunity to do that. I’ve met some fantastic, talented alumni throughout this process. 

What makes a women’s mentoring scheme important to you?  

Women supporting women has always been important to me, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am in my career without the guidance of many inspiring women. Whether that’s advice from previous colleagues and mentors, phone calls with my mum to debrief on difficult days, or my WhatsApp group of friends all ready to jump on to discuss challenges and provide advice when I need them. Just having someone who’s been through similar situations or simply to be a friendly ear can be very powerful. 

Can you tell us about what the mentoring involved?  

We were provided with some helpful materials and training on how best to support our mentees throughout the program. I then had several virtual chats with my mentees, where we discussed topics that impact so many women, such as dealing with imposter syndrome, career planning, and presentation nerves. It didn’t take up too much of my time, and we covered so much in our meetings. 

Do you have any top tips for alumni looking to join the 2025 Womentoring scheme?  

Do it! Having now been on both sides of the programme I can confidently say you get so much out of it, both as a mentor and a mentee. 

How has mentoring positively impacted your own career? 

When I took part in this program in 2021 I was at a crossroads in my career. Having a mentor to talk to at that time was incredibly helpful and helped me build my confidence and secure a promotion. Through my experience as a mentor this time round, I realise it’s not just the mentee that benefits from mentoring. I got so much out of connecting with my mentees – they were inspiring to speak to and I know I gained a lot from our conversations too. 

Natalie Atkinson (BSc 2018), one of Joanna’s mentees, also shared her experience of the Womentoring scheme.

If you’re a Cardiff alum keen to find, or become a mentor for a fellow graduate, our alumni networking platform Cardiff Connected helps you find the right match. It’s quick and easy to register, and you can filter by industry and location to search those offering or asking for help.  

There are also lots of other ways you can volunteer your time and expertise to help inspire and support the next generation of Cardiff University students and alumni.