• Jo Selman-Smith

What Mentoring Means #2 Sophie McLaren

Sophie was working in digital marketing before her mentorship began. A job that was, as she put it, ‘draining her soul’. She had just graduated, gaining a qualification in Youth Studies, but was at a bit of a crossroads on where she wanted to go next. Whilst she knew she’d like to work helping young people one day, she realised that her own dream lay in doing something creative.

Sophie had been exposed to the benefits of having a professional mentor during her studies and realised how useful it was for getting the most out of the course and articulating herself along the way. Following a recommendation from a friend, she applied to Shadow To Shine’s mentoring programme to find a mentor who could help her explore her creative aspirations.

In less than a week Sophie was assigned a professional mentor - Jane Landino, Director of Taylor Howes luxury interior design company – who was able to give Sophie valuable insight into the industry and the possibilities within. Sophie had long been interested in the sector but had felt it to be one reserved for those who came from white, middle class backgrounds. Jane set about trying to show Sophie that this didn’t have to be the case, giving her plenty of resources to read and deepen her understanding, as well as identify her own potential for a career.

Where Sophie had previously felt the industry to be one that was inaccessible to her, she was able to overturn that feeling into one that recognised it as a space in which her own creativity could thrive. After weeks of research, Sophie told Jane about a short course in interior design that she had decided to apply to in order to become qualified. What Jane was able to do next was to be one of the most incredible acts of kindness Sophie had ever experienced.

With her connections and reputation, Jane was able to secure Sophie a scholarship at KLC School of Design for an online diploma, where she is learning to draw, curate mood boards and present projects centred around interior design. The two have stayed in touch whilst Sophie studies, and she presents what she’s been working on to Jane in their sessions.

One of the biggest challenges Sophie faced was her motivation and self-belief, but this opportunity to showcase her talent and apply herself to something she loves has shown her that she can dream big. She finds fulfilment and joy in interior design not only on a professional level but on a personal one too. One day she dreams of setting up her own business, and we don’t doubt she’ll get there.

If you want to help bring positive change about in a young person’s life, sign up to be a mentor at

30 views0 comments

Shadow to Shine CIC | Company Number: 12170192

Geographical Areas

Mentoring and work experience in North London

Mentoring and work experience in East London

Mentoring and work experience in South London
Mentoring and work experience in West London


Young entrepreneur mentoring 

Young business owner mentoring 

Career mentoring

Industry mentoring

Well-being mentoring

Virtual mentoring


Mentoring and work experience for former offenders

Mentoring and work experience for people with no qualifications

Mentoring and work experience for long term unemployed

Mentoring and work experience for young people with gang affiliations

Employment Industries

Work experience in the music industry
Work experience in the creative industry

Work experience in the art industry

Work experience in law

Work experience in finance and accounting

Work experience in the property industry

Work experience in the sports industry

Work experience in the charity and not for profit sector

Work experience in retail

Work experience in food, culinary and hospitality

Work experience in media

Work experience in PR and marketing

Work experience in fashion

Work experience in publishing and journalism

Work experience in radio/TV and broadcasting

Work experience in IT, technology , gaming and computer science


Safeguarding Policy
Equality Policy

Volunteer and Mentor Policy

Data Protection Policy

Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Drugs and Alcohol Policy for Staff, Volunteers and Mentors

Health and Safety Policy

IT, Internet and Email Policy

Confidentiality for Young People Policy

Lone working policy

Ethics Policy


Mentoring Agreement

Work Experience Agreement

Code of Conduct on Programme Agreement 


  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Youtube Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Youtube Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon