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If you had a mentor, what issues would you choose to tackle together?

Being part of a mentoring relationship can be transformational. It’s an opportunity to develop the impact you have on your business in a sustainable way. The skills, abilities and know-how you unlock through the process come from within and are applied directly into the way you lead your business – so they don’t walk out of the door when the process ends. It’s about developing the quality of your own approach and thinking around business decisions, moving from the great work you’re already doing, to the heights you’re capable of.

The DBA’s Twenty/Twenty business mentoring programme has been running since 2011 and has created a community of hundreds of DBA members who have used the process to make more informed decisions about their businesses, their people and themselves.

DBA mentors are the leading lights of design leadership. People who have faced the highs and lows of working in our industry and recognise the specific challenges faced by mentees, yet are further along in the journey and can offer that crucial perspective needed for growth. Together with them, mentees work through a 12-month process of developmental mentoring providing the supported time and space needed for true change to happen.

Our resources and training sessions are developed and led by some of Europe’s most experienced and respected mentoring experts, and the cohort approach to the programme means that you benefit from the shared experiences of your fellow mentees as you travel through the process.

Everyone on the programme – both mentors and mentees – are equipped with the specific skills and techniques needed to create successful mentoring conversations. Our guided, yet light-touch framework gives you the support you need to establish a strong relationship, and then gives you the freedom to define together how your individual experience will work. Will you meet online or in person? Will you stick to the most usual format of meeting for an hour each month, or will you meet more regularly? Will the time between sessions be bridged with active work to bring back to the next meeting, or will your sessions be more focussed on the simple experience of that protected time for reflection and trusting the growth that comes from that? It’s all up to you.

And you can tackle whatever subjects and issues you want to with your mentor. This is a completely tailored experience – you are matched with a mentor whose background, personality, situation and aspirations resonate with your own. They are simply further down the line and with more battle scars under their belt. But whatever you’re bringing to the table to work on – be that specific business conundrums, personal development goals or a need to tackle the next big leap for you or your business – the quality of our careful and rigorous matching process means you’ll have the right mentor for your journey. The longevity of our programme is down to the good mentor/mentee matches we make.

What if you don’t know what you want to work on with your mentor, but the process sounds right for you, right now? Well, that’s great too and not an unusual starting point. You’ll work with your mentor to identify your goals early on in the year, and then shape them as you go. Who knows what you and your mentor might uncover together and where you’ll be in 12 months time.

There’s no other programme like the DBA’s Twenty/Twenty mentoring out there and there’s nothing to stop anyone from benefiting from this ground-breaking process. You just have to start.

How to apply

  • For details about the application process, please contact Natasha Papa, Head of Programmes at
  • Standard fee £2,999+vat
  • DBA members £1,750+vat
  • Mentors application form
  • Mentees  application form
  • Applications close 29 November 2023.

“Since launching Twenty/Twenty all the way back in 2011, it’s been incredibly rewarding seeing the passion and commitment of the mentors who give their time to this process, and the impact and influence the programme has on the businesses and lives of the mentees. Mentoring is all about empowering and developing yourself and those around you, building confidence in your leadership abilities and resilience for the road ahead. It’s a privilege to be able to work with so many of the leading lights of the industry each year in this way and we’re excited to welcome more for next year.” Sally Lukins, Strategy & Business Director, DBA

Here's what previous mentees had to say:

“Twenty/Twenty mentoring helped grow my confidence tenfold. I received robust, solid advice from my mentor and found it invaluable how he shared his experiences. He didn’t tell me ‘what to do’ but provided an open forum to discuss potential scenarios and solutions. I have now got better boundaries around valuing what we deliver with confidence, and I am stronger at negotiating and saying no.”

“My mentor has been a perfect match for me both professionally and personally.”

“Twenty/Twenty is unquestionably valuable and eye-opening. Speaking to someone with deep expertise and experience, who has been through it all, provides incredible context. The impartial, non-judgemental optics of the mentor/mentee relationship offers a unique lens on thoughts, ideas and challenges. You simply can’t have these conversations with colleagues.”


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