Tracy Hodges (Head of Product, DHL Parcel) has been an avid GoTeach advocate for many years, supporting the DHL UK Foundation across a variety of our programmes. From a Teach First coach to a GoTeach Champion, Tracy has supported many young people in reaching their goals and she is not planning on stopping anytime soon! The Foundation had the chance to sit down with Tracy and hear a bit about her GoTeach experiences.
Would you be able to tell me about your DHL journey?
Similar to many colleagues, when I went through school and university, I did not know much about the logistics industry. After I had my daughter, I began working for UK Mail (which was eventually acquired by DHL) and have never looked back. Throughout my career, I’ve worked in a variety of different roles and areas within the company. My current role as Head of Product for DHL Parcel UK is always changing and developing, alongside the business which I greatly enjoy.
What made you sign up to GoTeach?
I was quite fortunate growing up. I went to a great school and had a supportive family. Once I had my own children, I became aware that not everyone has those same opportunities. GoTeach actively tries to improve the lives of young people by opening up these opportunities that many of us take for granted.
What have been your experiences with GoTeach?
Over multiple years, I have coached teachers with the charity Teach First and been a Bridge Builder mentor to young people from City Year. Mentoring and coaching are two completely different skills so I have to consciously switch between my coaching and mentoring hats. It has been interesting to see these programmes adapt and change over time, especially with Covid having a significant impact.
Last year, along with fellow Parcel colleagues, I became a business mentor with the charity ThinkForward. We were supporting a group of young people to develop life skills and break down barriers to work. It really took everyone out of their comfort zone to work in a virtual classroom with a group that was unfamiliar to us. Young people talk to you as an equal, they don’t know who you are or what your title is, so we were able to have some really authentic conversations.
Finally, I am also a GoTeach Champion. This was an exciting opportunity as not only do I get to develop a relationship with a local school but also with local DHL sites. We have our first GoTeach activities coming up at New Line Learning Academy in Kent this year which is really exciting!
What were the main challenges you overcame?
The main challenge people often think about is ‘how am I going to fit it in?’ Once you are in the flow of it and have made that initial commitment you will be able to find the time. Even if you just have an hour every couple of months you will be able to support in some way.
Coaching has encouraged me to really stretch my skills as it is very different to mentoring. Despite being a coach for a number of years, I will always do the refresher training. I think it’s a good challenge to tell myself that I can do this even better.
What are your main highlights from your GoTeach experience?
There are a few I can pick from! Last year’s Bridge Builder experience sticks with me a lot. The young person I was mentoring was at a real turning point in her life. She was really starting to question what she wanted to do and revaluating the path she was on. Being able to support her through her challenges and decision making was very powerful and had a significant impact.
Whichever programme I have taken part in, hearing a young person or teacher share their highlights from your time together and see them reflect on how far they have come, is something special.
What advice would you give any DHL colleague who is considering applying?
My advice would be to look at the variety of GoTeach programmes and find one which ignites you. If it resonates with you, you are more likely to give it the time it needs to be done well.
In three words, I would describe GoTeach as inspiring, motivational and rewarding.
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