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Shekera Rowe

Business Support Officer at House of Commons

“I’m from a diverse background, working class and a black woman - my mentor gave me the confidence to insert that into my interview.”

Shekera Rowe is a UK-based postgraduate degree holder, interested in a career in politics, public and social policy. Shekera joined the WIAN Graduate mentorship Programme in an effort to immerse herself into the International career world. Having gone straight into a postgraduate degree from undergraduate level, Shekera had under 2 years of professional working experience and had been finding it difficult to find gainful employment in International Affairs.

During the WIAN mentorship programme, Shekera was paired with AI. AI is a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois, USA with a specialty in international human rights law and business transactions.

Over the period of the programme, monthly interactions between the two resulted in a more confident and knowledgeable Shekera. She now understands how widespread the international affairs industry is with several different fields that are not necessarily restricted to social justice. AI helped Shekera understand the multitude of opportunities that exist, and now, she has a better understanding of how to adapt her background to the different causes, sectors, and organisations in the International Affairs industry. Shekera says, “She [AI] broke it [the International Affairs Industry] down by letting me know that international affairs have different segments and areas. Going into it I thought everyone was a carbon copy of the UN /NGO and all people are working to fight causes, but you can have different areas in each organisation. As she has a legal background, she taught me valuable aspects of the legal sides of organisations e.g., commercial law. This could be helpful if going into consulting.”

This mentorship programme has helped Shekera understand the importance of networking and now she finds herself motivated to seek out more opportunities in international affairs. AI connected her mentee to a number of different professionals working in development and civil service, around the world. From these connections, Shekera has accessed tips in CV tailoring, she has improved her capacity to write clear and concise cover letters, has acquired knowledge on presentation of her competencies for specific jobs and received constructive feedback on ongoing job applications.

AI also supported Shekera in interview preparation for roles in International development and the civil service. Referring to this part of the mentorship scheme as an important personal outcome, Shekera says that she is now more confident in selling herself to potential employers. She said,“She [AI] definitely helped with the application process and preparing for interviews. She reminded me to maintain eye contact and how to shine out. I’m from a diverse background, working class and a black woman. In light of the protests, she stressed that now is the time to utilise my background as organisations are becoming more inclusive. She gave me the confidence to insert that into my interview. Also, the transition from in person to video interviews. She helped me prepare for the 3min allocated time to record myself for a telephone interview.”

Shekera is presently working with the House of Commons in Business Engagement working on strategy and participation. It is an administration focused role and involves providing input on increasing participation with the UK public. Referring to this new position as a foot inside the door, Shekera remains committed to finding a graduate role in International development/Civil service.

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