Volunteer profile – Ambra Testoni, Resource Manager for DSP – Finance Company, Linklaters

Ambra Testoni is Resource Manager, DSP – Finance Company, at Linklaters. Ambra has been volunteering on our Leaders in Partnership programme. Ambra chose to volunteer on this programme to help people overcome challenges that can knock down confidence. Read on to find out more about Ambra’s volunteering experiences.

Why do you volunteer?
Since I moved to the UK, over 9 years ago, volunteering has been one of the most enriching experiences that I could have hoped for. My first job here was in a Law Centre and, from there, my desire to help others has never faded away. Thankfully, Linklaters is very supportive of social impact programmes and has an incredible offer of volunteering opportunities for its employees. The one programme that caught my attention, over three years ago, was ELBA’s Leaders in Partnership. The reason why I chose it is that I believe that work is what gives us dignity and the opportunity to fully realise our potential. However, there are challenges that can knock down our confidence and, with that, the opportunity to make the most out of our career. I have had the experience of losing and taking back my confidence more than once, and I love helping others to rebuild it.

I particularly like helping anyone who has lost confidence after a long career break, changing country or experiencing bullying at work.

What have you gained from your volunteering experience?
I have become a much better listener and I have learnt not to rush into solution mode. Each of my mentees achieved a much better understanding of their potential, of what they wanted and why, which was incredibly rewarding. However, this is not a process that can be rushed.

We are all different and other life circumstances play a significant in role in how quickly we can move to the next step. Listening, asking questions and especially not pushing in a certain direction, my mentees had space to open up and make the best decisions for themselves at their own pace. I have also learnt how similar the issues we have at work are. What causes confusion and unhappiness are often miscommunication and unclarity on roles and responsibility. Mentoring/coaching can help giving a better structure to some difficult conversations around these topics or clarifying whether it is time to look into other options without harbouring negative feelings.

Would you recommend volunteering to a colleague and, if so, why?
Absolutely! I have already given a presentation to my team about this programme and shared my enthusiasm with many friends.

It is incredibly rewarding to help others and I am sure that any new volunteer will be surprised with the positive impact they can make in someone else’s life. I also find it very easy to work with ELBA. First of all, the matching process is incredibly good. I think they were all a perfect match for me (and I am at my fourth mentee). Secondly, I find that ELBA is very good at supporting me when I need it, but at the same time I feel trusted to do a good job. I can definitely recommend it as a great experience.

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