Just Nevaeh – a mentoring partnership story

6 min read

A Birmingham-based photography and videography company. Her organisation specialises in ‘life’ photography; focusing on the personal lives of its clients, covering weddings, birthdays and maternity shoots.
Sophia Loren, CEO and founder, Just Nevaeh
Mentor

Sophia Loren is the CEO and founder of Just Nevaeh and has recently formed a new product within the business called Brand Nuwe; a dedicated visual branding service for organisations that need visuals to shout about.

I’ve always had a flair for entrepreneurialism. I knew from a young age that I didn’t want to work for anybody, but that I wanted to work for myself. My mum, who has always been my best role-model, taught me to believe that I can do anything I put my mind to, and that’s just what I did. I set up Just Nevaeh in 2017, specialising in capturing timeless moments and transforming them into pieces of art. My mum telling me that I can do anything has truly guided my career, but she also told me that I can’t do everything. Because of this, I’ve always thought that the most important lessons come from failure.

It’s undoubtable that a degree of failure was to come with the impacts of Covid-19 and I, like many other business owners, seriously felt the detriment of the lockdown and the quick change to consumer habits. However, I didn’t know how much I really needed this until the lockdown hit in March of this year. I really needed a period of time to reflect on my company and to realise that we needed to transform the way we do business, and lockdown really provided me with that opportunity. In this period, I also found the time and space to lift myself out of working within my business to really see how much I have progressed and achieved over the past few years.

Mentoring made me feel valuable.

Sophia Loren

Just Neveah

This ability to celebrate your achievements is something that I wanted to pass on to my mentee; I wanted her to step back and to tell herself ‘well done’, instead of always waiting for others to tell her. My mentee really valued this, and she said that the structure of our meetings really meant that someone was listening to her mind, so to speak. Instead of digging into the details of her business strategy, I preferred to focus on how she was feeling and what she was learning about herself throughout lockdown. My mentee then applied this approach to her own team, and adopted my weekly ‘work in progress’ meetings to give her colleagues the space to talk about what they were going through and to really get to the core of how her team were doing in such uncertain times. She said that this is one of the best changes she’s ever made to her business model.

I’d not been a mentor before I enrolled on the Santander Breakthrough Women Business Leaders programme, because I’ve always been concerned that I am not qualified to mentor. I worried that: if I haven’t achieved my own goals with my own business, how can I possibly guide someone else with their business? I quickly realised that mentoring isn’t about where you are with regards to business progress, but it is much more about how you apply your work experience. My mentee was able to learn from my experiences about growing through adversity and I found great value from hearing about how she approaches moments of difficulty. My mentee didn’t quite know exactly what she wanted from our meetings, but that was okay. We tackled things head on and thought about what we could do today that could change tomorrow.

Just Nevaeh

Being a mentor on the Santander Breakthrough Women Business Leaders programme wasn’t just about helping my mentor. In fact, the impact on me has been huge. Since mentoring, I have grown a confidence to take on new challenges that I previously worried I wouldn’t be able to achieve. I’ve been fearful in the past; fearful of reaching out to new clients and making the first steps towards building a network. It was being a mentor which enabled me to go out there and create the networks that I wanted to be a part of. I realised that if it doesn’t work out, then that is okay. The mentoring programme has done far more for me than just being a mentor. It made me think ‘I am valuable’.

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