Alumni Fellow Case Study: Tom Walters
Tom Walters is the archetypal Alumni Fellow. Highly successful, personable, and keen to help others succeed.
Graduating with a degree in Media & Communication and Society in 2012, Tom is both an account and board director at The Dairy, a creative agency in Nottingham.
He’s a tremendous advocate for the Fellowship Programme. In fact, after just a few minutes talking to him, you’re wondering how to go about signing up for the scheme yourself.
Tom recently won the new award for Outstanding Alumni Fellow and has supported NTU in a huge variety of different activities since 2017, including guest lecturing, mentoring and social media content.
Where does Tom find his motivation?
“I really enjoy this!” he says enthusiastically. “My memories of being an undergraduate at NTU were always positive. It was just a very vibrant and inspiring place to be – it felt like home. Finding a positive way to re-engage with the university made perfect sense.
Being a fellow and working with the university has really helped boost my own soft skills – I owe it all to the Fellowship Programme
What is Tom’s approach to being a mentor and a fellow?
“I try and do whatever it takes,” Tom says. “I’ll go in and talk to the students, lend them some expertise, do some 121s, give some lectures, help them with their CVs, their LinkedIn account – whatever I can do to help arm them for their future careers.
One of the biggest questions from anyone considering becoming a mentor or Fellow is – what’s in it for me? Can Tom share some of his motivations?
“There is something spiritually rewarding about giving something back,” he says. “But, from a personal perspective – it’s helped my own development.
“When I received my outstanding alumni award, I had to give a short speech. I was a nervous wreck before I got up and did it! Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do that, but undoubtedly being a fellow and working with the university has really helped boost my own soft skills. Delivering the seminars, the talks, the 121s has really helped me – I owe it all to the Fellowship Programme.”
Can Tom give an insight into the sort of commitment the programme requires?
"NTU are very considerate and will ask if I’m available to engage with certain things like seminars and guest lectures or mentoring an undergraduate.
At 32, I’m not too far away from the undergraduates I work with. The ups and downs I’ve experienced in my career are still relevant to them
“I’m very active with the placement scheme and run one of our own here at my own company, The Dairy. We provide candidates with a properly organised two-month placement. It helps that I have a very encouraging boss who is equally keen to support rising talent and has a very altruistic mindset.
“Placement students who come here don’t just sit in a corner and observe, they’re encouraged to development their time management skills, send emails, to learn how to thrive in a professional environment. We’ve launched the careers of some great people. In fact, one of our interns from 2019 approached us recently to give us a big piece of work – so it’s not just everyone else’s future’s we’re investing in!”
Tom is characteristically modest when asked what he thinks he brings to the programme.
“Given my age, and the career path I’ve taken,” he says, I’d like to think my experiences are relatable. At 32, I’m not too far away from the undergraduates I work with. The ups and downs I’ve experienced in my career are still relevant to them.”
I’d encourage anyone to consider this – everyone has something to offer, and the personal rewards are certainly there
So far, so positive. But is there anything else Tom feels people need to consider before getting involved?
“I think you’ll find the rewards come the more you put in. So long as you’re open-minded and are confident, I’d encourage anyone to consider this – everyone has something to offer, and the personal rewards are certainly there.”
Does this sound like you?
If you've been inspired by Tom's story, visit our comprehensive Alumni and Industry Fellowship Programme information section to find out more.