Jackie & Ahmad

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Jackie Ballard

Leaders Together mentor

Jackie Ballard, Chief Executive of the RNID, was interested in getting involved in Leaders Together, the project which unites senior professionals in the voluntary sector with leaders of Refugee Community Organisations (RCOs), after experiencing both sides of the mentor/mentee relationship herself.

Jackie explains "When I read about the Leaders Together scheme I felt that I wanted to contribute in a structured way and especially to a part of the voluntary sector which is often operating in a hostile climate in the UK. I have been mentoring another Chief Executive informally and have learned as much from that as I have given, I have also been mentored myself." Jackie continues "I hoped to be able to share some of my experience of leading an organisation and I knew I would learn more about refugee community organisations and the challenges their leaders face."

Jackie was paired with Ahmad Mall from the Afghanistan Association Paiwand which gives information, advice and guidance to refugee and asylum seekers from Afghanistan. Ahmad had never worked in the UK before and as a Manager at the organisation he was grateful to get some support.

Jackie explains "Ahmad had never worked in the UK so I can imagine it was very daunting. We have talked about the problems of organisation and administration and of handling under performing staff and Ahmad has made changes where he felt it was needed."

Leaders Together is a two-way process which means that it's not just the mentees which benefit. Jackie says "I have been privileged to have an insight into Ahmad's life and I genuinely feel humbled when I talk to him. In comparison I as an individual and the organisations I have led have had an easy life. I don't think you can ever underestimate the buzz you get from being able to help someone else, even in a small way."

Ahmad confirms "I feel extremely privileged to have been given the opportunity to be mentored by Jackie as she has a great deal of valuable knowledge and skills and the mentoring process has helped to benefit my organisation and me."

Ahmad Mall

Leaders Together mentee

Ahmad Mall works for the Afghanistan Association Paiwand which aims to give help and advice to refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan as well as working on numerous social activities. Ahmad is really pleased that he found out about the Leaders Together project, finding the experience exceptionally beneficial. Ahmad explains "Not only am I personally reaping the benefits of being mentored but my organisation is benefiting greatly too. I had never before worked as an administrator in the UK, let alone in a managerial position and being mentored has really helped."

Ahmad has been mentored by Jackie Ballard, Chief Executive of RNID after being matched by the Leaders Together Project Manager. Ahmad explains how the mentoring process began for him "At our first meeting Jackie listened carefully to me and assessed my needs. From this she gave me some advice on management issues and at our ongoing meetings we have discussed other queries I've had around this and topics such as fundraising."

Ahmad has implemented changes into his organisation after advice and ideas from Jackie and the process at RNID, Ahmad explains "Jackie invited me to one of the weekly meetings at the RNID offices to understand how the week starts at RNID and how business is organised. I found this extremely interesting and as a result made some much needed changes to our administrative processes and Jackie and I have also discussed ways of improving the fundraising too. Ahmad continues "I feel extremely privileged to have been given the opportunity to be mentored by Jackie as she has a great deal of valuable knowledge and skills."

Jackie continues "I have been mentoring another Chief Executive informally and have learned as much from that as I have given, I have also been mentored myself. So when I read about the Leaders Together scheme I felt that I wanted to contribute in a structured way and especially to a part of the voluntary sector which is often operating in a hostile climate in the UK."

Seeing real benefits already, Ahmad and Jackie are continuing to work together, Ahmad says "I have more areas I'd like to speak to Jackie about including the business plan and I'm really excited about the opportunities that this mentoring relationship will bring in the near future."