15 March 2021 By Next-Up
“The perspective, support and challenge brought by a mentor with an entire career’s worth of experience is invaluable and can absolutely change your future”
Gemma Smith joined the Next-Up Mentoring platform in March 2020, having seen a former colleague post about it on LinkedIn.
At this time, she was in a state of flux, having recently recovered from unplanned major surgery and reflecting on the realisation that change was needed in her life.
As a healthcare management consultant, Gemma had become acutely aware through her illness that her financial stability was largely dependent on her time and ability to source work, as well as to travel extensively.
For some time, Gemma had contemplated developing a new business, but lacked direction and was fearful of the unknown. She hoped that a mentorship programme could overcome some of these challenges and things that were holding her back.
As the COVID-19 pandemic gathered pace, she was offered the opportunity to distribute reusable, medical-grade face masks in the UK and welcomed the opportunity to do something different. She connected with Stuart Watson, former Senior Partner at EY for Yorkshire and Humberside, an expert in business operations, financing, growth and development.
“Stuart is a thoroughly nice guy and guided me in preparing the business for launch, supported me with a number of challenging situations and taught me to think in a different way, which was more focused and proactive.”
OmniProtect launched in July 2020 and has subsequently moved in to both the distribution and manufacturing of other anti-viral products.
“The last eight months in business have been a whirlwind and I am truly grateful to have had the support of Stuart and the Next-Up team through this journey. Starting out in business as an “entrepreneur” can often be lonely and it is easy to lose direction, in the pursuit of being all things to all people. I believe that Stuart’s guidance has been integral to the success of OmniProtect and to keeping me motivated and on-track through some very difficult times. We have also certainly had a few laughs along the way!”
Gemma would advise anyone contemplating mentorship through Next-Up – or questioning whether it is for them – to “go for it”!
She says: “The perspective, support and challenge brought by a mentor with an entire career’s worth of experience is invaluable and can absolutely change your future.”
Everyone at Next-Up is adding our thanks to Stuart and our other amazing and generous mentors.
If you would like to find a mentor for your business – or become a mentor – it is all free. Just sign up to the Next-Up Mentoring site here.