Student Stories

Catherine Hogan - Queen Mary University

Make Your Mark Ambassador 2021/22

Catherine Hogan is a young woman with a clear purpose. Not only does the 22-year-old already know the career she wants but she is already taking brave strides to secure it.  
 
Her ultimate ambition? To become CEO of a charity, ideally one working to improve mental health.

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“Confidence never came naturally to me and it’s not something you get taught as part of your education. I always knew I doubted myself and that my confidence was quite low. But learning about the inner critic with Susan, what it is and that everyone has one has been beyond useful. This programme has helped me to understand just how much I was discounting myself and holding myself back. Susan gave us techniques to spotlight the inner critic and while mine may still control my thoughts, I now have tools to prevent it controlling my actions.”


These critical skills are something Catherine believes should be accessible to far more young people.


“I’ve subsequently found the confidence to put myself forwards for more opportunities,” says Catherine. More recently that’s included her speaking publicly about her own mental health to help others and putting herself forward to become a Make Your Mark ambassador.


“I’m so grateful that I’ve been one of the fortunate ones who has attended Make Your Mark and experienced the power of coaching at such a young age.  I wanted to become an ambassador to help more young people do so.  You must want to improve yourself and challenge assumptions about yourself so it can be an uncomfortable process, but if you are willing to engage, coaching has the extraordinary potential to benefit all young people.”


But Catherine admits there was also another reason she wanted to become an ambassador.


“While I was on the programme, I didn’t hear much about the third sector. There are so many young people working in charities from diverse backgrounds that need these skills too and can enrichen the School’s coaching conversation. Susan creates an inclusive environment and is open to new ideas, so I felt confident I could help bring that representation as she continues to evolve and scale the programme for young people.”


And while she’s only been an ambassador for six months, Catherine’s already having an impact. For alongside this year’s corporate sponsor, Baillie Gifford (who gifted places to some of its partner charities), Catherine’s also been tapping into MIND’s Youth Voice Network to make similar connections. It’s meant Winter School 2022 has included far more young participants referred via the third sector and greater diversity.


“I’m loving being an ambassador right now,” concludes Catherine. “As soon as I joined Susan’s summer school, I felt accepted – there was no judgement - and I continue to feel that way as an ambassador. I love that I’m part of a supportive community of like-minded people, who really value coaching and want to make it available to more young people. Our coming together in pursuit of that is energising. But it’s also inspiring because everyone involved on the ambassador programme is inspiring – I’m inspired by them all.”


Catherine Hogan is in the third of a four-year Apprenticeship Degree in business management and social change with Queen Mary University, London. As part of her studies, she rotates around teams at MIND, exploring how social change happens in the workplace. As a long-time advocate for improving mental health, Catherine is a mental health first aider, a Time To Change champion, volunteers with OK Our Kids and, prior to her degree, volunteered extensively with Barnardo’s.



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"Susan gave us techniques to spotlight the inner critic and while mine may still control my thoughts, I now have tools to prevent it controlling my actions.”

— Catherine Hogan, Queen Mary University