Mentor of the Month April: Special edition - Brooke Paige and Natasha Manning

This month, we're sharing both sides of the mentoring story - alumna Brooke Paige SLN2003 and student Natasha Manning MBA2017 share their experience of the scheme so far. 

Mentor: Brooke Paige SLN2003, Staff Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff at HealthCore 

In one sentence, why is mentoring important?
I have always found that mentoring helps participants gain clarity of perspective—When I am a mentee, I find that a mentoring relationship presents an opportunity to have my thinking “politely challenged;” when I am the mentor, it makes me think about why I hold the beliefs I do. In a word, mentoring provides “reflection”.

What’s your top piece of advice for people considering the scheme?
I was thrilled that Natasha came to our first meeting with specific questions and topics she was hoping to explore - this has provided just the perfect amount of structure to our meetings.

Why did you choose to take up mentoring, and what’s been the highlight of becoming a mentor?
I was approached through the IAC to become a mentor--I have had so many great mentors over the course of my career that I jumped at the chance to give back! There is nothing quite like being at London Business School—I am literally so proud of our incredibly accomplished community. I have really enjoyed meeting Natasha through this process.

The LBS community is global by nature. How much of your mentoring was face-to-face, versus virtual? We haven’t yet met in person! Natasha happened to be traveling during the times I was in London over the past few months. Ironically, I feel that phone conversations can often be even more direct than face to face meetings—Some people find it easier to speak about more sensitive issues that way. But nonetheless, I am looking forward to meeting Natasha in person when schedules allow.

If you could choose a dream mentor, who would you choose?
Here is a short list of three…I have long respected Joe Swedish, CEO of Anthem - he has an incredibly approachable leadership style and great integrity. Bruce Cozadd, CEO of Jazz Pharma has made a career of building his company and boards with top talent - I’d like to talk to him about how he consistently finds the best of the best. Also, Bruce has had tremendous success in alliance partnerships with outside companies - that is a major area of interest for me, and it impresses me that Bruce has so much energy and such a strong command of alliance management at the CEO level. I haven’t yet met Robert Langer, the prolific inventor scientist from MIT, but he is an absolute legend in Boston and in my industry overall - I am fascinated by cutting-edge science, and it’s Dr. Langer who seems to be working at that very edge every day - he has started company after successful company to explore these concepts. I would love to know how he structures his time, and how he approaches assessing new opportunities.

What values characterise LBS? Where does mentorship fit into the LBS culture? LBS fosters an unparalleled culture of openness, taking chances academically and professionally, and supporting one another along that journey - mentoring fits into that beautifully.

What is your life motto?
I love the saying, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I advise others that when you start to feel too comfortable, you’re not pushing yourself enough. I need to take that advice myself - I’m at my best when I am doing that consistently.


Mentee: Natasha Manning MBA2017

How are you finding your experience of being mentored and what were you looking to get out of it?
Initially, I was looking for two things. The first was advice on how to prepare and be successful in my post-MBA role. The second was insight into how to manage my career development after leaving the more formal learning structure of LBS.
In our first meeting Brooke and I discussed the first point and this was an incredibly helpful session where she was able to give me very tangible and tactical advice on how to be effective in the role. Before our second session though, what I was looking for changed as I received a new job offer at a different company. This session then became about how to evaluate the two and how to manage my relationships with the parties involved. Once again this session was extremely helpful and Brooke was able to help me structure my thinking and offer new perspectives from which to view the decision.

So far, has having an alumna mentor been what you expected?
Given how open and helpful the LBS community is in general, I expected the relationship to go well, however I have been pleasantly surprised at how productive it has been after just two calls. On paper Brooke and I did not have too much in common since we have worked in different industries in different functions in different countries, but she has nevertheless been able to provide me with practical advice that is very relevant to my personal career context. Her ability to really understand my situation has very much exceeded my expectations.

Did you find it beneficial that your mentor was an LBS alumnus?
Because Brooke has been through LBS, she understands the perspective that I am viewing my career options with at this point. 

What would you say the most valuable piece of advice or guidance you’ve received from your mentor has been?
Brooke encouraged me to look up LBS alums who have already done the job that I’m about to start, and to ask them for the tips and tricks to being successful in that role. I’ve since done this, and the conversation was invaluable. I now know the traps of the role to watch out for, which things to proactively prioritise first, and which relationships will be the most important to manage.

What would you say to any alumni considering mentoring a student?
I would say that you can make a big difference to a current student at what is quite a pivotal time in their careers. You can add a lot of value through listening to their situation and offering fresh ways of viewing particular issues. 

What is your favourite thing about LBS?
The sense of community we have that lasts even after people have left. I’m constantly delighted by how willing both students and alumni are to help each other out.

Have you mentored a student? We're always looking for new alumni to profile as our Mentor of the Month! Get in touch by emailing us alumnirelations@london.edu.

Interested in finding out more about mentoring or other volunteering opportunities at LBS? Complete our online form.