We launched our 2020 mentoring scheme on February 6 at a reception for 200 guests, generously hosted by the Embassy of Ireland.

The event kicked off with a speech from Adrian O’Neill, the Irish ambassador to the UK, saying, “We are delighted to host Women in Journalism here tonight to celebrate so many very talented and brilliant female journalists, at all stages of their career. It is wonderful to see the solidarity and support that is the engine of a network like this and inspiring to see the practical expression of that solidarity through the mentoring scheme.”

His speech was followed by words from Eleanor Mills, WIJ chair; editorial director, Sunday Times and editor, Sunday Times magazine, who thanked more than a hundred wonderful mentors, many of whom are among the most senior journalists in the UK, for giving up their time.  Hilly Janes, head of mentoring, echoed Eleanor when she said, “WIJ is all about women helping other women”.

Mentors and mentees mingled over delicious canapes and drinks – including warming Jameson’s Irish whiskey – while celebrating the continuing growth in talent and creativity of women in the industry.

Coincidentally, another reason to celebrate came with the news that the number of female national newspaper editors in the UK had risen to five.

We also welcomed the latest member of the WIJ family, Tesco, who have very kindly agreed to support us. “At Tesco, we’re delighted to come on board as a sponsor for the WIJ Mentoring Programme 2020 and in some small way to help the next generation of female journalists,Christine Heffernan, head of communications.

The mentoring scheme has been running for over four years and has provided more than 400 journalists at every stage of their careers with professional support and advice.

Sylvia Kilmaki, a mentee on the senior scheme said, “For the last four months I have reached out to several organisations here in London looking to connect with individuals from within journalism. WIJ has been by far the most helpful, inspiring me, giving me access to an incredible pool of talent and enabling me to move my career forward. The mentoring scheme has only been the tip of the iceberg. Highly recommend it. Join WIJ. It’s totally worth it.”

Mentor Lucy Daltroff, a travel writer and broadcaster said, “The mentoring scheme is an excellent idea. It’s great to be able to give something back and I do feel it does a lot of good. I wish such a scheme existed when I was starting out in journalism.”

If you missed out on applying for this year’s scheme, make sure to join WIJ and to keep an eye out for more of our events, giving you a chance to network and meet even more inspiring women in our industry before applications open at the end of 2020 for the following year.