Onpartu Cohort: 2016
Mentor: Caitlin Ross
Education: Masters in Psychology
In her native Poland, Hanna was applying her Psychology degrees right across the country. She counselled dysfunctional families and youth, as well as delivered workshops on social skills development and against violence and addiction for a living. However, after a few months of moving to the UK in 2014, she realised that it would be difficult to transfer her experience and certificates to the British requirements, while her English proved to be a psychological barrier. At one point before Onpartu, she therefore found herself instead multi-tasking between working at a bar, a spa, and a cinema. Feeling exhausted, Hanna wanted to find something completely different - save only for the cinema, where she had met inspiring people and wanted to stay. Yet, there was no time to decide which of the other two jobs to quit first, let alone to make decisions.
Hanna was very excited about the prospect of the one-to-one mentoring sessions. She had always been fascinated with coaching and personal development, and this time the tables had turned, where she was about to become a participant herself, with the hope of learning, improving her situation and getting back to what she could do well. She expected the mentoring to be serious and professional, but it turned out to be even more than that. Hanna was positively surprised by her mentor’s friendly, supportive and flexible style and says that she smiles when she thinks about Caitlin: “I really enjoyed the conversations”, Hanna remembers; “she is a good listener, and that’s very important to me.”
She also discovered later in a job interview that practicing Excel helped and admits with gratitude: “it would have been very hard for me to motivate myself to do this training because of the time limitation. Onpartu has helped me - when I made this commitment and joined the programme, I just had to find the time without excuses - it is amazing how many things you can do at once. Although I was tired, I enjoyed this hectic time of learning,
working and challenging myself. I love sleeping but I love challenges more.”
Hanna says that she would not be in her current charity position today if it were not for a Polish woman she met at her bar job, her own commitment to first volunteer there, and her mentor Caitlin’s advice and support when she was later offered a full-time role.
Hannah is working with a friend on a business idea, which would deliver workshops for Polish people in the UK. She has also kept one shift going at the cinema, as she enjoys working with creative people.