Talk Back with Louise Durand

Name: Louise Durand, Performer at Stomp & Freelance Presenter, London

1. Tell us about your involvement with BITCI: I attended St Paul’s CC in Waterford between the years 2002 – 2008 and in 5th & 6th year of Secondary school I was involved in the mentoring programme. I was matched with Anne Woods who was working at Anglo Irish Bank at the time.

2. After completing school, how did you go about carving out a successful career path: After spending a substantial amount of time with my Mentor Anne, I had no choice than to be completely compelled to follow any goals I had in relation to my desired career path. When I was given my place at UCC, I took with me all the valuable information that Anne had passed onto me in regard time management, communication and efficient study skills! Anne had instilled so much confidence in me and so it was easy to tackle any obstacle that was thrown in my direction.

3. Do you think that there were any impacts or knock on consequences from the BITCI Mentoring programme that you participated in and what you’re up to now? Absolutely. Possibly in the moment, you are unaware of how influential having a mentor is, but you definitely see it’s worth further down the line. I appreciate Anne so much and how much time and effort she put in, helping to shape the strong, assertive female that I am today. I was constantly encouraged to express myself and to be unapologetic about my thoughts and views. I qualified as a Secondary school teacher of Business and Geography. I wanted to represent the youth and to help empower them in the more challenging years of life. Even though I have been performing over the last three years, I have recently applied to become a mentor in an organisation called ‘Safer London’ as a mentor for the youth who are involved or subject to involvement in gangs around London.

4. Who has influenced you most during your career? Strong female Leads. Any woman who has self belief, motivation and utmost love for herself. To names a few my mentor Anne, her achievements are endless on both personal and professional levels. Mary Roche, who was my supervisor for my dissertation in UCC. An incredible, assertive and hard-working woman with a plethora of knowledge.

5. What advice do you have for current students in school? Apply yourself. Believe that you can achieve whatever your heart desires. Success will come from determination and hard work! It is beneficial to share experiences, ideas, challenges with people that you trust. Seek directions from those who have already achieved before you – if you want to be a nurse, then speak to people who are already in the profession to find out what the job requires.

Share the workload – never sit in silence and let any amount of work get your down. Speak up and enjoy your journey through education.