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Driving Professional Development: Peloton London Studio's Mentorship Program

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Welcome to the Life at Peloton Guest Writer Series, where team members from diverse backgrounds and experiences share their unique perspectives on working at Peloton. Our guest contributors include Peloton team members from across the globe. This series aims to amplify voices, create connections, and celebrate people's incredible journeys at Peloton every day.

Mentor. The term conjures up images of Master Yoda clinging onto the back of a strapping Luke Skywalker as he parkours through a murky jungle, Yoda whispering sage words into Skywalker’s ear, readying him for the battles to come. Sounds a bit intense if you ask me. That’s why when I was approached to apply to the 2023-24 cohort of the Peloton Studios London Mentorship Programme, I was hesitant - at first.

The Mentorship Programme was first launched at Peloton London when Engagement Survey responses showed a growing interest in mentorship. The survey “flagged that staff across the studio really wanted some sort of mentoring or coaching scheme alongside other support around development and training,” said Pete Flamman, VP of Global Content Creative and International. “This, coupled with the continuous focus and drive for talent retention and development, was the ignition,” said Sarah Chase, Senior Content Solutions Manager and Mentorship Programme Co-Lead. Once they’d heard the call, Leadership from the Content and Music teams started the search for potential mentors and found a number of leaders with a passion for supporting other team members. The group, headed by Chase and Liz Stewart, Senior Director, Content, International, combined their efforts to develop a plan for a studio-wide Mentorship Program. 

They welcomed their first cohort in 2022, a mix of team members within the Content and Music team. Mentees ranged from managers with years of experience to part-timers still attending university.  

One of the program's first participants was Shayma Ahmed, now a part-time Studio Stagehand. At the time, Ahmed attended London South Bank University, where she pursued a degree in Sports and Exercise Science. Beyond her studies and her role at Peloton, she also maintained a rigorous training schedule as a collegiate-level rower. “I didn’t really know exactly what to expect, but knowing that there’s someone who has a lot of experience and knowledge to guide me was what motivated me to apply for the program,” said Ahmed.

Ahmed was paired up with Flamman for the six-month program. They would meet monthly to discuss Ahmed’s work-related goals as well as her ambitions in the world of professional rowing. “When I was given the opportunity to train and develop as an athlete with the GB Performance Development Academy, Pete put me in contact with Alex Karwoski, the Peloton Row Instructor. We had a call to talk about rowing and training to a high standard,” said Ahmed. The mentorship relationship also proved beneficial for both Ahmed and Flamman alike. “Mentoring Shayma helped me to understand all the challenges Shayma was facing and also all the exciting opportunities and choices she had as she combined working at Peloton with studying,” said Flamman, “It wasn't me telling Shayma what to do - it was about us figuring things out together so she could then decide what she'd do.”

By autumn 2023, Chase and Stewart were ready to launch the second iteration of the Mentorship Programme. They welcomed 19 new mentees into the scheme, along with 17 mentors, including myself. Encouraged to apply by my manager, I answered a short form that asked about my background and my reasons for pursuing mentorship. Within a couple of weeks, I attended the kickoff Mentorship Program meeting, where I learned I’d be paired with Kate Khullar, Content Senior Program Manager. Over the last several months, Kate has helped me focus my career goals and coached me to go for a couple of opportunities in my personal life.

Most importantly, Kate has helped me change my mindset when it comes to challenges I’ve faced at work. At times when I’ve felt overwhelmed and emotional, Kate has been able to provide me with a grounded perspective. This focused, logical thinking has encouraged me to get more involved with the Latin and Hispanic ERG and work on a writing project with the Branding Team.

Mentorship provided Ahmed with a similar moment of clarity. “Pete always told me that the worst thing somebody could say is ‘no.” It was a piece of advice Flamman pulled from his years of experience, “I've had times in my life and career when I wish I had asked and risked getting the ‘no.’ But I also know that the times I plucked up the courage to ask, it was OK. Often, it did lead to a no, but not always.” That shift in mindset gave Shayma the courage to start a public Instagram account documenting her rowing journey as well as to become a coach for London Youth Rowing. “Being reminded that I can actually ask for help and not deal with everything on my own is something I didn’t know I needed until that point,” shared Ahmed, “It’s been amazing working with Pete on my personal and professional development and from this I’d definitely recommend for everyone to find a mentor that works with them and their goals.”

Abigail Written by Abigail Saenz

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