Speed dating is out – speed mentoring is in

Speed dating may be nothing new, but speed mentoring is certainly new in the dental profession!

In its first ever speed mentoring event, dental charity Heart Your Smile aimed to match up aspiring young professionals with the mentor of their choice.

Last month, Heart Your Smile trustees and members gathered with a group of eight experienced professional mentors and coaches, and six young professionals and undergraduates at a venue in London’s West End.

They were on a mission to see how speed mentoring could aid aspiring healthcare colleagues by matching them with an experienced mentor of their choice.

Fiona Ellwood has been instrumental in supporting the Heart your Smile mentoring programme and conceiving the Speed Mentoring model for Heart Your Smile. Fiona is president elect and soon to be president of the British Association of Dental Nursing. Fiona is a leading dental educator and lecturer in mentoring, for the Faculty of General Dental Practice and was kind enough to give a brief introduction to the group before we started.

Each mentee had just four minutes to rate their opposite number for compatibility and expertise in helping them achieve their chosen goals. Each mentor undertook a similar rating, to evaluate how well they felt they could support the mentee.

The results will be ‘matched up’ by Heart Your Smile’s operations manager Lizzy Felix and communicated to all parties within a few days.

Enthusiasm permeated the room as a hubbub of conversation erupted. Clearly, all concerned felt that this was an opportunity not to be missed!

Mentor Sally Simpson, past president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy said: ‘I was genuinely delighted to be part of the first Heart Your Smile Speed Mentoring event! One of the charity’s aims is to be innovative and this certainly didn’t disappoint. The evening passed in a whirl of new faces from throughout the whole dental team and the wider industry all meeting for just a few minutes. I’m in no doubt that expanding this project will lead to the growth of meaningful and important relationships, inspiring confidence to excel in their professional lives.’

Robiha Nazir, hygienist at the Harley Street Dental Group, said: ‘The event was a fantastic night. Met great people from different walks of life and felt excited to help someone progress. I would highly recommend future Heart Your Smile events and look forward to helping my mentee.’

Mentee Lucy Williams, a dental therapist, said: ‘I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to attend the Heart your Smile mentoring workshop. I had a great time; the company and food were lovely. I am already looking forward to future Heart Your Smile events.’

Heart Your Smile co-founder and trustee, Simon Gambold, said: ‘Just a year after its formal creation, Heart Your Smile is sending out a strong message to all in the dental professions and the dental industry. We have innovated in using social media to spread good news about dentistry and oral healthcare, as well as a successful pilot – Innovation 360 – which sees dental teams spreading the word about dental health in their communities. Now with speed mentoring, we really believe we are creating a “can do” attitude of confidence across the whole of dentistry UK.’

James Goolnik, the charity’s co-founder and trustee, added: ‘We are all about spreading the word that dentistry is good for patients, good for the profession and for the industry. Helping our new colleagues develop a positive and uplifting take on their future is a further step towards enthusing dental teams and ultimately the public.’

If you would like to find out more about mentoring and join the Heart your Smile mentoring programme, you can download our free mentoring pack at http://www.heartyoursmile.co.uk/get-involved/mentoring/

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