Eloise Varma is social media manager at London-based Tribal Worldwide but earlier this year, she took time out from her role at the agency to get involved with the Creative Mentor Network (CMN) programme.
The organisation’s mission is to make the creative world of work more diverse and inclusive and, having already shown suitable skills in her professional role, Varma relished the chance to apply herself to the scheme.
“I’d always wanted to do something that felt like it was benefitting other people,” she says. “Working in social media is kind of a weird space to be able to apply your skills outside of that so when the agency talked about doing mentorships, it seemed like a nice idea. Helping other people with their work has always made me feel more confident in my own.”
Social media wasn’t always on the cards for Varma. Having been unsure about what she wanted to do growing up, her dad, a marketing manager, suggested trying PR as it involves transferable skills. While it didn’t turn out to be her calling, the position did involve aspects of social media management which led to a role in digital marketing before she started at Tribal in March 2018.
"My team had quite a few new people in it, so I sort of accidentally became a mentor in-house."
Despite being in the first few years of her career at the agency, she has already been involved in its own internal apprenticeship scheme. “My team had quite a few new people in it, so I sort of accidentally became a mentor in-house,” she explains.
“It wasn’t ever really intentional, but she worked closely with us and was really bright, so I was showing her how things work and putting her in touch with other teams. She had a requirement in her apprenticeship to do some web analytics, so I helped her find the right people to talk to and got it all set up for her. Lots of little bits that helped her through the process.”
Varma’s boss and the agency’s head of talent got wind of her good work and recommended her for the CMN programme. Recalling the time when she started and how daunting and confusing the industry can be, Varma was all for offering her services.
“It’s an alternative way to find new talent and is really good for a company’s reputation."
“It’s an industry that can be really hard to understand how it works, what needs to be done and how to move forward at first,” she says. “I didn’t really have anything similar [to the CMN programme] and it felt very confusing. But to have someone guide you and help you work out what you want to do and how to go about it makes everything a lot better.”
Since completing her 16 weeks of mentoring with CMN, Varma is now building on the experience and what she learnt back in her full-time role at Tribal. Managing another team member on her account, the skills are proving invaluable.
Asked how she thinks the agency benefits from being involved, she concludes: “It’s an alternative way to find new talent and is really good for a company’s reputation. Not only that, it’s upskilling staff, so means there are more skilled people in-house.”