22 Nov 2022
by Meat Business Women

How mentoring helped me gain a different perspective and shape my career: Melissa Jukes

Melissa Jukes is the Senior HR business partner at 2 Sisters Food Group.

She tells us how gaining a different perspective has helped shape her career plans.

Tell us a little about yourself. What was your career path and how did you end up in your current role?

I joined 2SFG as a HR Graduate. I had worked in other roles prior to this, but had only been out of University for a few years. 2SFG have supported me to develop my career in HR and am now 5 years in and the Senior HR Business Partner for our Central Functions colleagues in the Poultry Division.

Please give us some background to why you decided that you’d like to have a mentor?

As part of the graduate scheme I had a mentor for the first year. When I heard that you could get a mentor as part of the Meat Business Women platform, I thought it would be great to network and meet someone to share ideas with from outside of my organisation but still in the meat industry.

What was it about your mentor that made you think you’d like to work with them and how did you determine you’d be a good fit for each other?

I didn’t really know who I would like to work with other than that they were outside of 2SFG and HR. When I approached my mentor, she responded very quickly and we instantly started to build a relationship.

How did the initial call go? Was it an easy relationship to build, or did it take a little time to settle into?

We exchanged a few emails first and then set up a Teams call. My mentor often travels all over the UK & Ireland so meeting virtually felt like the best thing to do. The relationship was very easy to build as we could talk about our shared experiences of working in the meat industry.

What did you value most about the mentor/mentee relationship? What have you gained from it?

Having a mentor has genuinely influenced decisions that I’ve made in my professional career. I really valued the opportunity to talk through challenges and get a different opinion and perspective on how best to deal with them.

Is there anything you’ve learnt from it that you didn’t expect to?

My mentor encouraged me to continue with my studies alongside work and from this, 2SFG agreed to support me to complete my Masters in HR Management. I don’t think I would be completing this course now if it wasn’t for my mentor’s encouragement and guidance on how best to time things in your career.

Do you think that the time you invested into finding and building the mentor relationship is worthwhile?

Yes definitely, my mentor has also introduced me to HR professionals in her network, so not only have I built a relationship with my mentor, I’ve also grown my HR network within the meat industry.

Is being a mentor/mentee something that you’d recommend? If so, why?

100% I couldn’t recommend the mentor programme enough. You learn so much from it, and it’s actually a fun experience getting to meet new people and insights into different organisations.

Find out more about membership here

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