Mentors – we need you! A blog from Mary Drabble and Nigel Turner

8 Nov 2021 15:53 | Sue Russell (Administrator)

Mentors – we need you!

2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the DAMA UK mentoring scheme. Our award winning programme has proven very popular and the numbers of applications for mentoring are growing year on year. But we are at risk of becoming victims of our own success and we need to recruit more mentors to support the increase in requests for mentoring.

The scheme’s main aims are to:

  • Help improve the skills and expertise of all DAMA UK members by growing skills, expertise and best practice across the organisation.
  • Support the professionalism of all DAMA UK members
  • Raise the profile of data management specialists across wider UK industry

Why become a DAMA UK Mentor

Obviously a key part of the role of a mentor is to support the mentee, but it is also an opportunity for personal development. Professional development organisation, Art Of Mentoring, lists the following 11 reasons why you should say ‘Yes’ to becoming a mentor:

So do any of those 11 sound like something you’d like to do? We asked a number of our current mentors about their personal experiences and whether any of the above resonated.

Nigel Turner was one of the original founders of the DAMA UK mentoring scheme:

“Having been a mentor myself since the start, what have I learned about mentoring?  First, being a mentor is as much a learning experience as being a mentee, as I have been exposed to many different data management people and their problems working in a wide variety of organisational cultures, including small businesses, global multinationals and UK government departments.  This has taught me that although good practice in data management is often generic, with many different organisations facing similar challenges with data quality, governance, reporting and so on, understanding specific cultural contexts is critical to providing viable support and advice.  What works in a small business may not do so in a multinational and vice versa. 

Moreover, what mentees usually want is not someone to tell them what to do, but a mentor who acts as a sounding board to listen to their ideas and thoughts, ask independent questions, provide feedback and generally act as a supportive friend who has their best interests at heart.  In essence,  mentoring should be all about helping others to develop themselves in the direction they want to go in.  As the film director Steven Spielberg observed, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” 


Mary Drabble

“I think my favourite thing about being a mentor is the opportunity to talk to people outside of my day job about data management and not be considered weird! No matter what industry you work in there are so many commonalities when it comes to data. Being able to help people, especially those starting out in their careers, to prepare for typical hurdles and encourage them to develop a full understanding of some of the complexities in our field so that they can be effective in what they do is extremely rewarding.

If you are a DAMA UK member and would like to volunteer as a mentor visit the mentoring pages on our website at for more information on the scheme, and how to get involved.  Here’s to the next 10 years!  

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