One of the ways in which the Association aims to support its members is through the provision of development opportunities. Last year, we established a new Mentoring Programme to help develop talent in the arts and heritage sector. 

Partnering with Dr Mark Hughes, Director of mch Positive Impact, our aim was to assist in the development of commercial and people skills, confidence, strategic thinking and performance.

Mentoring offers an ideal environment for self-reflection and for enhancing the emotional intelligence and communication skills required for great management and leadership

Dr Mark Hughes

With the 2021 programme due to start shortly, we asked both mentors and mentees from 2020 their thoughts of the programme…


From heads of operations to shop supervisors to those dealing with redundancy, our mentees were varied in terms of roles, desired outcomes and current career points. Each, however, benefited from the scheme, with inspiration, structure and support being recurring themes…

Through a turbulent and difficult to navigate year having a mentor has benefited me in a number of ways; kept my mental wellbeing afloat, sharpened my focus amongst shifting priorities, and helped me think about what is best for me and for work. My mentor creates a safe and nurturing space to discuss life, work and everything in between. It has been an absolute beacon of light and I feel truly spoiled. Everyone needs a mentor. Thank you

I am so glad I applied! I couldn’t be happier with my experience so far and have found the programme very rewarding, leaving each session motivated and inspired. My mentor has certainly made me feel more confident within my work and the knowledge I have gained will be invaluable in the future

I’ve grown massively in confidence and have learnt new working models that are already helping me in my new position. My mentor helped provide desperately needed structure, advice and support as I ploughed through the most uncertain and difficult point in my career to date. I am so grateful to them


Incorporating heads of department ranging from marketing to visitor experience to retail to events, as well as directors of organisations, our mentors were a fantastic and diverse selection of sector leaders. Mentoring is often assumed to be mainly helpful to the mentees, but we found our mentors also benefited from the programme, which included a full day’s training.

I have found the programme extremely rewarding. It has been a pleasure to work with my mentee. I had the essential tools, reminders and frameworks to help lay down the foundations which we developed practically as we progressed through the programme. It has also given me some good tips for my own awareness and development which I will carry on using. I would be very happy to continue mentoring in the future.

I have found it immensely rewarding being part of this programme. The biggest reason it’s been so good overall is because of the enjoyment and satisfaction I get from speaking regularly with my brilliant mentee.

I’ve found it fascinating to learn from my mentee about another part of the cultural enterprise sector, and rewarding to see that sharing my own experience can be relevant and useful for my mentee even as they face their own specific challenges. Above all, it’s so satisfying to provide what support I can to a bright, capable young person already very engaged in their own professional development, and encourage them to strive for even more, by boosting their confidence in what they are already doing for themselves, when I can.

Overall, we have been delighted by the positive feedback we received from both mentors and mentees, and are hugely looking forward to the next chapter in our Programme. Keep an eye on your inbox to find out when the 2022 Mentoring Programme will be starting.

We’re pleased to announce the participants of the 2021-2022 Cultural Enterprises Mentoring Programme:

2021 Mentors
  • Tom Campbell, Director of Operations & Visitor Services, The ICA
  • Robert Gill, Head of Retail, Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Amanda Pearlman, Head of Retail and Commercial Events, Southbank Centre
  • Simon Prager, Head of Commercial Operations, The Tank Museum
  • Caroline Reid, Head of Merchandising and Retail, National Trust for Scotland
  • Catherine Smith, Head of Retail, Abbey Road Studios
2021 Mentees
  • Michele Doyle, Operational Duty Manager, Everyman & Playhouse Theatres
  • Kate Grindal, Retail Manager, Cadw – Welsh Heritage
  • Panagiota Kotoula, Retail Manager, Ministry of Stories
  • Georgina Lewis, Head of Development, Migration Museum
  • Maud Stiegler, Retail Operations Coordinator, Royal Opera House
  • Christina Wood, Event Sales Manager, Natural History Museum
Participants of the 2020-2021 programme:
2020 Mentors
  • Kalwinder Bhogal, Head of Marketing NGC, National Gallery
  • Meghan Cole, Head of Retail & Product Development, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Gabriela Gandolfini, Head of Visitor Experience, Royal Opera House
  • Steve Gardam, Director, Roald Dahl Museum
  • Paul Griffiths, Director, Painshill Park Trust
  • Amy Huntington, Head of Exhibitions & Events, Mall Galleries
  • Rita Rooney, Retail Buying & Merchandising Manager, Museum of London.
2020 Mentees
  • Judy Chance, Museum Manager, British Golf Museum
  • Alice Escott, Shop Supervisor, Exeter Cathedral
  • Kate Kendall, Retail Merchandiser, Barbican Centre
  • Katrine Moller, Interim Retail Manager, South London Gallery
  • Danielle Sargent, Retail Manager, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
  • Rebecca Toyne, Senior Gift Buyer, Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Emma Wickham, Head of Operations, Lighthouse

Further resources

mch Positive Impact website

Cultural Enterprises Mentoring Programme Prospectus

FREE Cultural Enterprises Academy Coaching and Mentoring Course

Ted Harris
By Ted Harris
Ted is the Digital Communications Officer at the Association for Cultural Enterprises, focusing on the Cultural Enterprises Academy. He has previously worked for a variety of cultural organisations, including the Whitworth Art Gallery, The Lowry, Manchester International Festival, Chetham's Library and the BBC.
Write a response … Close responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Cookie

This website uses cookies to help improve your user experience.