Magdalen launches mentoring programme for BAME leaders

26th November 2019


Magdalen College has launched a pioneering new mentoring programme to help equip Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) leaders with the tools and knowledge required to stand for political office.

The programme is an extension of the Pathways to Success Leadership and Development programme, a six-day residential leadership workshop which was hosted by Magdalen College and the Blavatnik School of Government, following a year of planning with Operation Black Vote (OBV), the House of Commons, and Lloyds Bank.

“A lot of good people came together with a simple idea,” said Lord Simon Woolley, Founder and Director of OBV, “to bring our institutions, organisations, networks and personal energies towards a collective goal: nurturing the next generation of senior Black political leaders. Pathways to Success is now probably Europe’s gold standard in diversity political leadership.”

The mentoring programme aims to build on the success of the Pathways to Success Leadership and Development programme by offering one-to-one support to participants over the next eight months, as well as providing access to a network of mentors and fellow participants. All mentors are alumni of Magdalen College who work in politics, the public sector, business, and the third sector, including current members of the House of Commons and House of Lords.

“Achieving diversity in any sphere takes time and energy,” said Frank Starling, Global VP at WERKIN, London Enterprise Advisor, and programme participant. “We need programmes in place like Pathways to Success to increase representation of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders at the highest levels.

“Mentorship in this programme is a crucial component as it provides a safe space to share fresh perspectives, accelerate professional goals, and tap into new influential networks.”

A mentor on the programme said, “I have never been more proud to be a member of Magdalen College. I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch [the programme] grow over the years. I’m starting to recruit other old members as mentors and have asked the team to let me know what else I can do to help.”

Professor Robin Cleveland, the Access Fellow at Magdalen College, said, “One barrier to people coming to Oxford is the perception that they won’t fit in here.  The participants in Pathways to Success found that on the other side of an old stone archway they could be themselves and flourish.”

“We are committed to redressing the under-representation of BAME students at Oxford,” said Dr Ed Dodson, Senior Outreach and Access Officer at Madgalen College. “And our involvement with this exciting new initiative sends a clear message to our community, as well as prospective students, about our commitment to increasing diversity. It also helps to create role models for future students at Magdalen, Oxford, and beyond.”

The mentoring programme and the Pathways to Success Leadership and Development programme provide a unique opportunity for Magdalen College to support diverse leadership in politics and society in general, and to connect with, and learn from, BAME leaders.

Magdalen College would like to thank its Pathways to Success Leadership and Development partners, the programme participants, and the alumni who have supported this initiative.

Magdalen College has committed to the mentoring programme for the next three years. The programme was launched at the House of Commons earlier this month.