Ken has worked in the scotch whisky industry for over 30 years, taking him to over 75 countries worldwide. He describes himself as ‘naturally gregarious’ with a passion for all things Scottish, travel, languages and culture, so his role as International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Brothers scotch whisky brands suits him to a tee. In a previous life, Ken was responsible for marketing in the fashion, hotels & leisure and retail sectors. Now approaching 60, he still gets the same adrenaline rush and huge pride when presenting his beloved brands to customers around the world. Meeting new people and learning from them is big on his agenda, so mentoring with MCR Pathways is a fantastic opportunity.
Find out why Ken decided to become a mentor:
Why did you choose to volunteer with MCR Pathways?
In my role as International Brand Ambassador, I have developed extensive expertise in mentoring, training and coaching, so I wanted to use these skills to help young people in Glasgow schools. I was fortunate to benefit from a great primary and secondary education, with many good teachers along the way, which definitely stood me in good stead in my early professional career. Also, I’m a Glaswegian and proud of my city. The MCR Pathways initiative is an excellent example of aiming high, reaching far and delivering tangible results.
What was it like getting ready to be a mentor?
Preparing to be a mentor was both exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measure. The anticipation of meeting my young person and working with them was a huge
motivation. The training by MCR prepared me very well, without being too demanding. After a comprehensive introduction by the Coordinator, it was a very natural, friendly conversation between two people meeting for the first time. My young person was quite shy and quiet, so we just chatted about family, school, friends and hobbies.
What changes have you seen in your mentee?
I have seen my young person grow more confident and focused on his school subjects, mentioning educational goals and future planning – which is a great step in the right direction. I believe just chatting to him on a regular basis and encouraging him to work well at school and at home – with a structure for homework – has helped him find balance between school and leisure time.
What do you gain from mentoring?
I have learned a lot about listening rather than talking, coaching rather than providing solutions, understanding there is not just one possible outcome, and empathising rather than being judgmental.
What is the best thing about being a mentor?
The best aspect of mentoring is being part of a team structure that involves teachers, guidance staff, pastoral care, guardians and the MCR Pathways team. I’ve found support by the school key. Of course, helping a young person and offering them the benefit of my experience and professional training is pivotal in my role as mentor.
What would you say to others about mentoring?
Register to become an MCR mentor. Mentoring benefits everyone, but it starts with our young people…