Andy & Alba

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Andy Gregg

Leaders Together mentor

Andy Gregg, Chief Executive of London Advice Services Alliance has worked in senior positions in the voluntary sector for over 20 years. Andy says "I heard about Leaders Together and felt that I could put my skills, experience and substantial knowledge of all aspects of governance and management to good use by mentoring a Refugee Community Organisation (RCO) leader."

"The guidance I've received throughout my career has had a huge impact on my personal development and I hope I can do the same for someone else."

Andy was paired with Alba, from the Latin American Welfare Group. "Mentoring is tailored to the mentee's needs and objectives; Alba was particularly interested in getting support with fundraising and identifying funding sources, however, we've also covered legal aid and finance queries as well as general administration processes." Andy says.

Leaders Together is a two-way process which aims to develop skills and learning for the mentor and mentee. Andy explains "Leaders Together isn't just about the mentee getting benefits. As a mentor, I have seen real advantages too which is great. For example, I have gained a much better insight into RCOs and been able to sustain links with local areas of London, giving me a diverse range of clients."

Alba agrees, "Not only do Andy and I get on well but we have similar skills on some level which helps with the process. It's been a learning experience for both of us."

Andy continues, "From a mutual point of view we've discussed ways in which the two organisations can work with each other as well. Also, we have worked together on the issue of secondary migrants' right to reside, which is a complex issue affecting both organisations."

After training and matching, the mentor and mentee can then arrange suitable dates to meet. Andy explains "The whole process has been straightforward and I haven't found it a problem fitting the meetings in, especially as it's over a six month period. It does help that Alba and I get on well but it's about good communication too."

Alba Arbelaez

Leaders Together mentee

Five years ago Alba Arbelaez joined the Latin American Welfare Group to support the broader refugee community she is part of. Alba joined Leaders Together to strengthen her organisation and learn new skills. She says:

"I wanted to be part of Leaders Together because I felt that being mentored would be a great opportunity to gain from the experience of someone who understands the sector."

The training for the project was not only informative but really motivating too as you get to talk to other mentees in similar situations - giving you a chance to network and it highlighted to me that the issues I had come across are similar in other Refugee Community Organisations too."

Alba was matched with Andy Gregg, Chief Executive of London Advice Services Alliance. Matching is carried out by the Leaders Together Project Manager and is based on a range of criteria to ensure a good match. Leaders Together is a two-way process between the mentor and mentee with learning for both.

Alba says "My mentor has been great. Not only do Andy and I get on well but we have similar skills on some level which helps with the process. Mentoring is not about doing everything for a mentee but guiding and being there to discuss ideas. Andy has had a lot of experience so it gives me confidence to bounce ideas around with him." Alba continues "Also, it's important to be flexible and communicate, which we have done in order for both of us to get the most out of this."

Andy says "Leaders Together sees benefits for mentors and mentees; I have gained a much better insight into RCOs and with my support Alba has been able to make some positive changes to the organisation she works for."

Andy and Alba are continuing to discuss ideas and are hoping to get the organisations together so that employees from both can get involved. Alba explains "We are planning to arrange a meeting for all employees so we can sit down and discuss common ideas involving fundraising or legal issues and how we can work together in the future. It's a brilliant opportunity and one that is unlikely to have happened were it not for Leaders Together. Thanks to this project not only has the Latin American Welfare Group benefitted but so have I personally and I'm positive it will continue."