Dorcas & Lawanda

Dorcas Kissi was an MA Strategic Fashion Marketing student when she applied for a mentor through LCF Careers. She was paired with Lawanda Wallace, an LCF alumna and ASOS Accessories, Jewellery and Swimwear Buyer.

We asked Dorcas to share her experience of the mentoring programme with us:

Why did you want a mentor?

I was coming towards the end of my studies and I felt I needed a bit more support with my career as I wanted to pursue an area I didn’t have much first-hand experience in. I feel that the lessons that come from experienced individuals are always invaluable.

Tell us about your experience of being mentored:

It was a real pleasure as it was very hands on yet informal at the same time. I appreciated the honesty and options Lawanda provided and she was very encouraging and accessible.

Would you recommend it to others?

I would definitely recommend it to others because it adds a new perspective to your studies and encourages you to think about the future and be proactive about it.

What have you gained from having a mentor?

Lawanda was extremely supportive during my job hunt and ensured that I was well prepared for the interviews and assessment centre; which helped me to land my current role in fashion buying. She also helped broaden my long term options and encouraged a flexible and entrepreneurial mind-set.

How did Student Careers support you?

LCF provided the necessary facilities for meetings with my mentor and were also on hand to help with my career search by pointing me in the direction of suitable employers which they made available on their career portal.

How valuable is mentoring to students wanting to get into the industry today?

It is a great way to gain clarity as it is extremely informative and provided me with all the details in order to make an informed decision about pursuing a career in buying. It is also a brilliant way to network and make those vital contacts with people already in the industry.

What was your experience of studying at LCF like?

I really enjoyed my time at LCF. Not only did I meet some amazing people but I also took part in some amazing opportunities that were exclusively available to LCF students. I was part of a team that won two competitions; one of which was the Retail Week Conference and opened the door for work opportunities with an international clothing brand based in Paris. The experience was amazing.

Has being mentored shaped your future ambitions, if so, how?

It has shown me the importance of thinking beyond entry roles and to always bear progression in mind whether it’s horizontally or vertically. It has also encouraged me to pursue my personal creative goals and visions which will continue to develop as I gain more experience.

What makes a good mentor?

It’s important that they are available and relatable. It also helps if they are honest and experienced in different areas as they can provide alternative perspectives. Lawanda was a really good mentor because she really encouraged me to think long term and the different ways my career choices can affect other aspects of my life.

ASOS Accessories, Jewellery and Swimwear Buyer, Lawanda Wallace signed up to be a mentor for an LCF student through LCF Careers. She graduated from the Postgraduate Diploma in Buying and Merchandising in 2004.

Why did you decide to become a mentor for an LCF student?

I decided to become a mentor after returning to London from New York. I thought it would be a great way to stay connected to the College while encouraging students in the industry.

Tell us about your experience of mentoring…

I've had great experience with students. I can often identify quickly which students are going to really absorb the information that I can share with them.

How valuable is mentoring to students wanting to get into the industry today?

Very valuable! The industry is large and very complex, a lot of students don't even realise certain positions within the industry exist.

What did you gain from the experience?

I just love helping others in an industry I feel really passionate about.

How did LCF Careers support you as a mentor?

The LCF Careers team provided a great workshop on communication which helped me to keep in touch and offer advice to my mentee.

What makes a good mentee?

Someone who is a good listener and has the ability to give good feedback. Also, they should be flexible with their time.