03 Apr 2024
by Meat Business Women

Meet our mentors: Donna Harris

Donna Harris, Commercial Manager, Hilton Foods Ireland, tells us about her experience both as a Mentee and Mentor on the MBW Mentoring platform

Donna Harris is Commercial Manager at Hilton Foods Ireland and decided to join the Meat Business Women mentoring portal as both a mentee and mentor. So with both sides of the coin, we wanted to delve into her experience and get her take on some of our most asked questions about mentoring...

Weclome Donna, please can you share why you chose to sign up for the Meat Business Women mentoring? 

It was the first time an opportunity for a formal mentoring process was available to me hence I wanted to grab it with both hands!

The fact that there is a bank of candidates willing to participate in the process and who are also from the same industry made it so accessible.

I decided to become a mentor as well as a mentee as I figured that I would get different things out both processes plus I was very aware I was going to be asking my mentor for some of her valuable time hence I felt it was only right that I too offered up some of my time.

As a mentee, how did you know which mentor you wanted to approach?

The honest answer is I didn’t hence why the matching process is such an important feature as it made the easier for me to identify similar traits and skills to those which I wanted to improve.

The initial conversation was an opportunity to both of us to introduce ourselves, for me to outline what I wanted to achieve as a mentee and for the mentor to outline how she could support. 

As a mentor, can you share more about the relationship you build up with your mentee and how it benefitted them? 

As a mentor you are acting as a soundboard or source of guidance and support for the mentee where she is doing all the groundwork in terms of achieving her objectives. 

The process has allowed be to improve my active listening and my questioning styles but most importantly to reflect on my own past experiences, challenges and opportunities.

How did you set about getting the best out of your mentoring conversations? For example, did you set goals together, or was it more of a free-flowing conversation/advice session?

We had a structured approach at the start and agreed objectives but as these objectives were achieved it became a less structured process and a freer flowing conversation. 

We know that lack of time can be a real challenge when trying to prioritise our own personal development. What would you say to this in relation to your mentoring experience?

Try and set aside some time within your calendar as having it blocked out is half the battle but the most important thing to remember is you have a responsibility to you and your employer to make time to priortise your self-development.

Anything else you'd like to share?

On a personal level it has been an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience and I would encourage members to engage with the process as they won’t be disappointed.

Related topics