The power of mentoring: Help to Grow mentor and mentee recognised in top awards

The power of mentoring: Help to Grow mentor and mentee recognised in top awards

Posted: Wed 24th Apr 2024

A volunteer mentor on the Help to Grow: Management Course has been recognised for her role in helping a small Hampshire business boost its turnover by more than £1 million.

Dr Svetla Stoyanova-Bozhkova joined other best-in-class mentors at the 2024 National Mentoring Matters Awards in Birmingham, where she was celebrated for her successful working relationship with Rachel Rowntree, commercial director of feminine intimacy brand YES®.

The guidance Svetla gave Rachel during their mentoring sessions allowed the company to grow by 30% and add £1.1 million to its bottom line in 2023.

Svetla worked with Rachel shortly after Rachel was diagnosed with ADHD, and was named Best Mentor at the awards thanks to Rachel's nomination. Rachel herself won the Mentor's Choice award, after being nominated by Svetla.

Here, the pair reveal more about their working relationship, the success that YES® has achieved, and what it means to be recognised for their achievements.

Svetla, congratulations. How did it feel to win this award for your work?

Svetla: I was thrilled, grateful, touched, emotional. It's a fantastic feeling to be put forward for this prestigious award and a recognition for everyone who feels passionate about mentoring. Rachel is an inspirational person and the nomination means a lot coming from her.

Congratulations to you too, Rachel, and what an achievement for your business. Sum up Svetla's contribution.

Rachel: Svetla's coaching was the perfect mix of mentoring and advice. Her style suited me perfectly and the combination of guidance and self-development allowed me to flourish both personally and professionally, and develop my own solutions for the business. All of this was reflected in our company results.

YES® saw 30% growth last year, which is huge. What particular changes did you make as a result of Svetla's guidance?

Rachel: She empowered me to improve my management style. Talking to her, I felt seen and heard, and she created a safe space in which I could change and grow while trying out ideas and thought processes.

Svetla helped me understand the opposite perspective to my own. That changed my view on a number of complex subjects, which meant I was able to implement different ideas within the business.


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How do you see your contribution, Svetla?

Svetla: I'm very pleased with Rachel's success. She led the business team to that remarkable 30% growth, while attending the Help to Grow: Management Course, dealing with a new diagnosis of ADHD and juggling the demands of a busy professional and family life.

I think what made the difference was the holistic and personalised approach. Helping her to come up with the answers, challenging her views, allowing her to be herself and turning her perceived disadvantages into strengths.

In every session, we focused on specific areas and aimed to create actionable intelligence, evaluate what worked well and where to put more effort in over the following meetings.

What specific areas were you looking to improve when you started out?

Rachel: Three things really. My growth as a manager. Being able to manage and develop a team of people who naturally work in a different way to me. And merging objectives for the business with the team and their personal goals.

What was it about Rachel and her business that made you want to mentor her?

Svetla: For me, mentoring is about establishing a relationship with the individual. The nature of the business is not the most important factor when considering a partnership.

I try not to research it before the introductory meeting and this helps me avoid bias and prejudice. At the first meeting, I asked Rachel to tell me about her job, aspirations and challenges.

She was so knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate about her work, her team and her professional and personal growth – we "clicked" immediately. She was interested in areas of management in which I had a lot of experience and this gave me confidence from the outset.

What challenges did you face before working with Svetla?

Rachel: I needed to be able to bring the most out of myself, as that would allow my team to grow and perform to their best.

Svetla's ability to see the 360-degree picture, understand me and what I was trying to achieve, and grasp the business and its complexities in such a short period of time meant I was able to tackle those challenges and reach my goals.

By helping me adapt and improve my management style, the whole of my commercial team has been affected positively – sales, marketing, customer service, new product development and commercial administration.

What did you see as Rachel's biggest challenge, and how did you think you could help?

Svetla: I don't think there were major challenges, only a strong desire for personal and professional development, and excellence in everything she does.

Rachel has a senior executive role in the business and works in a fast-paced and detail-oriented environment. With a new ADHD diagnosis, she was struggling to see how she could lead her team and the business in the positive direction of growth, while still being true to herself.

As a mentor, my role was to find the best ways to channel all of her energy, help her recognise and appreciate her unique strengths, give her the tools to unlock her creativity and build her confidence.

What's the main thing you've learned so far from your mentoring sessions with Svetla?

Rachel: That really understanding the opposite picture, idea and vision is incredibly powerful and can have a monumental impact.

Finally, what have you learned from working with Rachel that you'll carry into other mentoring relationships?

Svetla: I've been involved in mentoring for a long time but I always get something new from each mentoring partnership. Each individual has a unique personality.

Getting to know them well and tailoring my approach to their strengths and needs is the key to a successful and rewarding mentoring experience.


Help to Grow: Management Course – Develop your business with a mentor

Want to help a small business grow?

Being a mentor goes far beyond the rewarding feeling of 'giving back'. Mentors gain a range of personal development benefits from the experience.

Become a voluntary mentor for the Help to Grow: Management Course and commit 10 hours over 12 weeks to support businesses with their growth action plan. Sign up today


The national mentoring element of the Help to Grow: Management Course is being delivered by a partnership of Newable, Enterprise Nation and the Association of Business Mentors on behalf of the Department for Business & Trade.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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