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“Motivating and empowering”: how the FWN Mentoring Programme changed my life

Ahead of the next round of applications for our mentoring programme, we hear from former mentee Shama Tatler on her experience of the scheme.

I have been always been interested in politics but never more than being a voter passionate about left-wing values. Upon graduating I became a teacher. Following the 2010 general election and, subsequently, seeing how state education was being ideologically dismantled, I decided to become active in politics. I had no idea what to do, how present myself or make an active contribution in protecting education.

I applied for the Fabian Women’s Network Mentoring Programme after meeting some former mentees and was lucky enough to get a place on the 2013-14 cohort. The mentoring scheme has changed my life. The year on the scheme was motivating and empowering: I learned to be proud of my skills and not shy away from my ambitions. It felt great to be part of a group of like-minded women who were all on a similar journey. The sessions, residentials and advice from sitting MPs, MEPs and peers was invaluable. The friendships I have made with my fellow mentees is perhaps the best thing about the scheme. Whatever, I decide to pursue in politics, I know there is group of strong, smart and supportive women who will be in my corner – and I, in turn, will be in their corner.

Since my time on the mentoring scheme, I have achieved many things. I was elected to become a councillor in Brent where I am the assistant lead member for children and young people, and I am also currently on the Fabian Women’s Network executive committee. In addition, I have organised and chaired two events for FWN – one on maternity pay and the other on childcare, the latter also including producing a pamphlet. All this has been achieved through the confidence, support and skills gained on the mentoring scheme.

I am proud to be a teacher but my time on the FWN mentoring scheme has given me the confidence to campaign and work in areas that I am passionate about. I would recommend it to anyone!

Shama Tatler is a Labour councillor for Fryent Ward, London borough of Brent. She tweets @ShamaTatler


Applications for places on the fifth cohort of our mentoring programme will open for Fabian members in the coming days. Details will be posted here.

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