Meet Our Mentors: Trevor Attridge

Diversity and inclusion have been important values at Deltra since our inception. We’ve strived to tackle biases in change and transformation where we can, and one of the most effective ways is through our Mentoring Programme. In an effort to break the glass ceiling, we partner talented women in the transformation space with senior leaders in the industry that can offer their guidance.

We’re lucky to have some incredibly inspiring people on board, and we owe the success of our programme to them. There’s no better way to show what to expect from a mentor than to introduce you to one of the first people we welcomed onto the programme.

We sat down with Trevor Attridge, CIO at global brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R, to get his opinion on what you can expect to gain from signing up to the programme as a mentor or mentee.

Not only is Trevor one of Deltra’s trusted mentors, but he also has female colleagues at VMLY&R enrolled as mentees, giving him a unique perspective on the programme and mentoring as a whole. In this interview, he touches on the profound changes he’s seen in both his own mentee and others, why mentoring is a symbiotic relationship, what he’s gained from it, and why you should consider joining our mentoring programme.

Profile photo of Trevor Attridge

Is this your first time mentoring?

Mentoring people within my organisation is a natural part of my job, but this is the first time I’ve done it externally. This year I have taken on one mentee through Deltra’s mentoring programme, and she has recently landed a significant role at a major premium retailer. She said the preparation work that we did really helped her present well in those interviews, which is great to hear.

What made you sign up to become a mentor?

It’s a way of paying it forward, I suppose. I’ve benefitted a lot from being mentored throughout my career, so I jumped at the opportunity to do the same for others. Minesh asked if I would get involved and I saw the value in it straight away. Me and a colleague signed up as mentors, and three people became mentees.

Have you seen changes in the people being mentored on your team?

They’re much more confident in putting things forward and understanding what it takes to be leader. I think that’s because mentoring can give you positive validation about things you already know, but maybe aren’t totally confident on. It’s that extra push to go for it.

Is it a different dynamic when they’re not in your organisation?

Absolutely. Even though I try to be as open and honest as I can with people that report to me, it’s not the same. My mentee feels like she can confide in me a bit more than she could her seniors because I don’t have a vested interest. People make great sounding boards when they’re outside your organisation. You can run ideas by them – test drive them in a way – and then take them back into your organisation.

What is the mentoring relationship like?

I see it as a lifelong relationship, really. At the start of the programme, we set the boundaries and the expectations so that we were both on the same page. Personally, if I haven’t heard anything in a while, I like to check in to make sure everything is okay. Even though my mentee has landed a great job, it’s not over. I’ll see how she’s getting on and we can both keep learning from each other. It’s a mutually beneficial exchange, there is give and take.

What have you gained from taking on a mentee?

You get a completely different perspective on things. There are things that I’ve learned that I’ve implemented in my own organisation and vice versa. Not only is she outside my organisation, she’s in a different industry, so there’s a massive cross-pollination of information. Since we both work in change, we have similar problems but in a different context. We also think about things differently due to our genders and ages, and it’s been of great value to me.

The marketing & advertising world is constantly evolving, so I need to be constantly learning. In a way, it gives me time back, because I might get a more efficient solution that I hadn’t thought of. You can’t underestimate the value of discussion.

Why do you think it’s important that women in the transformation and change space find mentors?

The reality is that mentoring can give underrepresented groups a voice and a chance to succeed. Women have been overlooked in the past and still are for the wrong reasons. I’m lucky to have a diverse team, and many of my seniors have been women, but that’s the exception not the rule. There are invisible barriers everywhere in society; age, social class, ethnicity, schooling, the list goes on. Certain industries like technology have been particularly misogynistic and that’s only going to change by giving women the confidence and the tools to succeed.

It was encouraging to hear that Trevor has benefitted from being a mentor just as much as his mentee has. Hopefully, they can keep learning from each other for years to come. Speaking to Trevor really highlighted the importance of our programme, and the role we can all play in helping women in transformation break through those invisible barriers. 

If you would like to follow Trevor’s example in taking on a mentee, or you’re a women in transformation and change that would like to be paired with a mentor, head over to our Mentoring Programme page, sign up, and we’ll be in touch.

Mike Weston

12th January

Mentoring Career Advice