Yvonne Gale is CEO of Newcastle-based NEL Fund Managers, which provides tailored funding solutions to ambitious and growing businesses in the North East.
As CEO, Yvonne is responsible for setting the direction for the team at NEL, working with investors and overseeing investment strategies.
After being partnered with a personal business mentor though the North East LEP’s Growth Through Mentoring programme, Yvonne reflects on the experience:
I’d heard about the LEP’s mentoring programme and then I bumped into Helen Lee, the Mentoring Co-ordinator at a networking event.
I firmly adhere to the idea that there’s no limit to what you can learn and how you can improve. There’s lots of information online which we can learn from but it’s totally different from someone’s lived experience and I was keen to have the opportunity to learn one-to-one from a business leader, using their personal experience.
Yvonne and her mentor met for three sessions over the course of four months.
It’s an iterative process. In between meetings there’s time to let what you’ve discussed soak in and think about the next steps. Personality-wise, my mentor was a very good match and made me feel confident that I could discuss business matters confidentially.
With mentoring, you get out what you put in – you need to be prepared to talk about what’s genuine and challenging to you.
If you’re facing a challenge, just because it’s something you’ve never done before, doesn’t mean that no one else has. Other people have wisdom they can share and the beauty of mentoring is that you don’t have to take the advice offered. If it’s not right for you then that’s fine.
I believe it’s important to interact with people from outside your own business and be open to learning from how others run their businesses. Mentoring for me has been a positive, shared experience.
The North East LEP has recruited a bank of experienced mentors who are available now to mentor leaders of North East businesses which have the potential to scale up. Find out more about Growth Through Mentoring