Making The Leap is proud of the relationships we have with our Corporate Partners. Without their support – which allow us to continue inspiring and transforming young lives – and our shared values, we could not do what we do. One such of these invaluable partnerships is the one we have with Hedley May, an executive search firm with offices in London and New York, specialising in headhunting executive-level candidates for a range of roles, including HR Directors, CFOs and CEOs, across both corporate and financial services clients.
Hedley May has worked with MTL since 2016 through activities such as corporate experience days and workshop sessions, and has been a partner for the UK Social Mobility Awards (SOMOs) since 2018. We have reached out to Nick Hedley, one of the co-founders and Finola Mallinson, an Associate Consultant, to find out more about Hedley May and their relationship with MTL:
Why is social mobility important to your organisation?
“When the firm was founded, we made a commitment to make a positive impact on our broader communities – ‘community’ is treated as one of the firm’s four key stakeholders, alongside clients, candidates and colleagues. We are each very ardent about giving back, it is something we feel is woven into the DNA of the firm and is something we each feel personally committed to. Particularly when it comes to supporting underserved communities – we are each keen to have a lasting impact on those around us.
Increasing the social mobility within the organisations we work with from a search perspective is a focal point in terms of some of our efforts towards increasing Diversity & Inclusion. It only makes sense that, as a firm, we are passionate about supporting some of the fantastic social mobility organisations accessible to us, which is why we chose to support MTL. Nick is also a judge for the SOMOs each year, which of course strengthens our ties to MTL even more so.”
How has Hedley May adapted during lockdown? How have you adapted to working with MTL over the past year?
“It has been a tough year for everyone, us included and in adapting to the new way of working, of course we have gone through the usual digital transition e.g., using Zoom and Teams for every form of communication (which is particularly strange when interviewing and very difficult to build the usual rapport you may get at interview) but, primarily, we have all had to become a lot more resilient! How we interact with others has completely been turned on its head, but not always for the worse…
We thought initially it might be a little tricky as we are so used to the face-to-face volunteering with the MTL Fellows, and you can’t quite replace that kind of interaction, eye contact etc. Having said that, we have found the ‘new way of working’ transformative for our relationship with MTL! We have been able to participate in a lot more of the sessions and the entire firm were involved in a number of masterclasses, with virtual interviewing techniques being a big hit as you can imagine, but also commercial awareness workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions.
We feel we now have the chance to make as much of an impact but on shorter, sharper sessions which can now happen more frequently – it is great!”
What are the challenges and/or benefits you have seen in how you interact with the young people at MTL due to these changes?
“One benefit has definitely been the ease of access to these sessions, I think both for us as volunteers but also for the Fellows. I also think interacting over Zoom can have its benefits. The Fellows have consistently been engaged, energised, asking lots of questions, perhaps because the sessions are more concise, and they are also in the comfort of their own homes.
Being on Zoom can be a little challenging as it is not as easy to build that level of rapport as we would have seen before at the MTL HQ. But we have found ways to work around this – we’ve tried out ice breakers, used smaller break out rooms, had pre-planned Q&A sessions etc. and the energy levels, ease of communication and general openness from the Fellows has been amazing! We have been very lucky that the Fellows have consistently been engaged, eager to learn and generally just how easy they have made it for us to participate in the virtual sessions.”
What has been your overall experience working with MTL and the young people there?
“As you can tell from everything mentioned already, each member of Hedley May always comes away feeling they have had an invigorating, valuable and, importantly, fun session each and every time – prior to the pandemic and during! The staff are amazing and of course the ease of our partnership would just not be possible without them – we have enormous respect for them all. The energy levels, resilience and determination it has taken from MTL to run fantastically effective sessions through the pandemic hasn’t failed to amaze us!
Ultimately, the reason we love volunteering with MTL so much is the inspiring young people that we get to work with. Inspiring is the most used word on any of our feedback notes from Hedley May volunteers. We really do appreciate having the opportunity to help guide and advise such a determined, impressive and inspirational group of young people each and every time. So, thank you!”
Since last year Making The Leap has successfully launched a series of Virtual Masterclasses providing insightful sessions which support our graduate Fellows in building the skills needed to access careers. One of our MTL Graduate Fellows, Nicole, secured an internship at Hedley May following a successful Masterclass they delivered last year. Hedley May also offered our Fellows a follow up one-to-one session on chosen topics. Nicole opted to take up this opportunity and was subsequently offered the internship, which she completed towards the end of 2020.
Nicole has offered an insight into her role at Hedley May:
“My role was an EA and Admin Assistant to carry out executive search projects and proofing and formatting client documentation. I also was supporting the Marketing and Branding Lead to create social media content and managing their marketing campaigns. This position taught me valuable professional skills such as how to present myself within a team, using initiative to learn on the job when I was tasked to set out a client document. I also learnt how important communication is, while virtually undertaking an internship as I had to adopt new techniques in tasks during training. This role enabled me to develop new skills I can transfer to future job applications.
I was able to learn about each of my colleagues’ roles at Hedley May. During my internship, it has taught me more about the process of recruitment and the importance of choosing suitable candidates for particular roles.”
Read more about Nicole’s story here.