“It’s the best gift ever to see someone grow and succeed as a result of your guidance,” Chelsey Baker, CEO and founder of National Mentoring Day tells me. Chelsey has had quite the resume before embarking on her entrepreneurial journey. The award-winning business mentor started off her career in television and publishing before moving on to communications and public relations. Over the past two decades, mentoring was something Chelsey had always wanted to do. Helping and inspiring others gave her the motivation and drive in her career.
After racking up skills and expertise in the world of media, Chelsey became a business consultant and helped thousands of CEOs and founders to scale their companies to the next level. With her expertise in the field, Chelsey went on to become a judge on a show called The Midas Touch, alongside Peter Jones and Rachel Elnaugh from Dragons Den. In 2012, Chelsey was chosen as a lead mentor for the government-backed Start Up Loans scheme. After the scheme, Chelsey wanted to continue her efforts to mentor more business owners and guide them in their journey.
“I saw the impact that mentoring had on the lives of entrepreneurs,” she said. “They received two decades’ worth of my professional PR, public speaking and getting great results. As you can imagine my mentoring sessions became very popular and when I reached capacity that’s when I asked myself ‘Where are all the other mentors? Why aren’t there more mentors!’” And that was when Chelsey decided to launch National Mentoring Day, a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to pass on their skills and experience to others who needed it most. National Mentoring Day encourages people to be a mentor or seek mentoring.
While there were many mentoring programmes out there, Chelsey realised that there were no initiatives to connect mentors and mentees on a large scale. “What was missing was the celebration and recognition of mentors and mentees,” Chelsey said. “I wanted to recognise the great work that mentors do and celebrate the invaluable contribution they make to the economy, businesses, and society. Also recognising the achievements of mentees and profiling the businesses that have mentorship programmes.” National Mentoring Day falls on October 27, and it has since been inaugurated in the Houses of Parliament in London, England, with Lord David Young as the founding Patron. People are asked to take part in mentoring one person on or around this day.
Chelsey hopes her campaign can have a ripple effect and encourage as many people as possible to mentor others.
“We all have so many skills, knowledge, and wisdom to share with others – so everyone has something to offer, and all businesses can take part,” Chelsey said. Since its launch 9 years ago, National Mentoring Day has grown tremendously. The campaign is now recognised globally with over 250 government officials in support of the day, with thousands of brands and business leaders honouring the day every year. These include the UK government, as well as several high-profile businesses and organisations, including Virgin, NASA, BBC, Business Wales, Grow Biz Scotland, Deloitte, Royal College of Surgeons of England and the NCI Centre for Cancer Research, to name a few.
Chelsey has also since launched the National Mentoring Awards and presented an award to King Charles III with an award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Mentoring’. His Royal Highness accepted the award on behalf of the charity he founded, PRIME Cymru which contributed to helping more than 15,000 over 50s into employment, self-employment, volunteering and training through its mentoring programme. She has also expanded her campaign globally.
Chelsey has big goals for 2024. She plans to launch a new media division to share mentoring news, impact, stories, events, and achievements year-round. Chelsey will also be announcing some new exciting plans to “catalyse a transformative shift” in mentoring across all industries and encourage more companies to take up mentoring. “It has never been more important to connect people together with remote working environments and to help secure the survival and growth of SMEs during these challenging times,” she added. “Our new initiative will focus on creating greater human connections within the workplace and raising the standards in mentoring.”
Chelsey will be joining Elite Business Live 2024 and delivering an extraordinary keynote in the People Power: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Talent session on Day 2.