From our inception, Urban Synergy has been dedicated to early career development for young people. Maxine Harrison, now 26 years old and a freelance journalist, is a previous Urban Synergy mentee. In a somewhat full circle moment, she returned to work with us on a project last year. Here, she tells her story of what it was like being an Urban Synergy mentee.
How did you first hear about Urban Synergy?
I found out about Urban Synergy through my secondary school, St Matthew Academy. I was in year 9 at the time.
How has having a mentor/ joining Urban Synergy benefitted you?
Although I always knew that I wanted to do something related to writing, I didn’t know which exact career I wanted to enter with it. But through meeting my mentor, Cynthia Lawrence, who was a journalist, I was introduced to journalism. This is what really set me on the path to start pursuing this career and ultimately landed me at where I am today as a freelance journalist. Cynthia helped link me with a work experience placement at The Voice Newspaper when I was in year 10 and this gave me insight into what it was like working in this environment. It helped solidify for me that journalism was the career I wanted to purse.
What are you up to at the moment?
As a freelancer I switch between clients periodically. But currently, I am freelancing with The Independent as a freelance journalist and search engine optimization executive. I have also have had previous pieces published with The Voice Newspaper, Business Insider, and more.
What advice do you have for future mentees?
Take advantage of asking as many questions as you can to your mentor about career opportunities, so you can have a better understanding of what career path you want to follow.
How did you feel when you first joined the Urban Synergy programme and how do you feel now?
Before joining Urban Synergy, I didn’t understand the power of networking and the real importance of building contacts as a young person. Now I understand how those early contacts can really help set you up for your future career and success. You’re never too young to network!