Networks and Mentoring Programmes - Fran O'hara

Networks and Mentoring Programmes - Fran O'hara

2011 W.I.N. Forum

Networks and Mentoring Programmes

A corporate strategy for gender equality in organizations


The W.I.N. Mentoring Programme is an integral part of W.I.N.’s vision of developing, empowering and

connecting women. During the 2011 WIN Conference in Rome, more than 60 people joined the

discussions on Women’s Networks and Mentoring.

Overview of the Forum

During this session, participants and speakers

addressed the most innovative practices and

highlighted ways that companies and individuals

can use mentoring programmes to support their

corporate strategies for gender equality. In

particular, emphasis was placed on using

mentoring and sponsorships for skill development,

personal growth and career advancement. The

subtopics addressed during the session include:

role of the Women’s Leadership Councils/Teams,

mentoring circles, cross company mentoring,

informal mentoring/sponsorships and the role of

leaders as mentors.

The session followed the W.I.N. Principles of

Networking with Purpose and Pleasure, starting

first with a prestigious group of speakers before

moving to speaker-led World Café style discussions

on the conditions that support, and hold people

back, from success. Before closing, participants also

reviewed what else is needed to manage

mentoring and sponsorships to ‘create history’.

At the beginning of the session, an quick, impromptu survey of the participants told us that 25% have a

Mentor, 33% want a Mentor, and 42% want to Mentor others. Participants (40) also completed a more

detailed survey on Women and Mentoring; these results will be presented at the end of this report.

Executive Summary

Successful mentoring and sponsorships require the following key factors, and are common for all of the

subtopics addressed during the session:

Mutual trust

Active listening/mutual understanding


Openness in communication

Managing confidentiality

© 2011 Women’s International Networking. All rights reserved. pg.1 of 7

Speaker Highlights and Storytelling

Tracey Upton, a renowned instigator of many

diversity and inclusion (D&I) programmes, was

the first speaker, talking about how Merck uses

their Women’s Council to promote women in

leadership. She also emphasized the importance

of mentoring and holding a women’s summit as

part of their overall programme.

Emma Pearson, a long standing and passionate

WINConference supporter, talked about the

importance of creating a gender charter at

Medtronic. Mentoring circles are led by female

VPs, built around the company’s core values to

share experiences, challenges and provide

coaching and mentoring.

Alison Henwood, a trusted career advisor and

mentor to many in a virtual, multicultural and

diverse environment, presented long term

Mentoring circle experiences at Shell and how

they are linked to the company’s D&I initiatives.

The mentoring circles are led by members of the

senior leadership team to show sponsorship for

the topics related to women’s advancement, that

women themselves want to talk about.

The group then learned about Cross Company

Mentoring from Jacqueline Ford, a champion at

IBM representing the UK on the company’s European Women’s leadership team. She talked about the

importance of working with companies having shared values and interests, and shared with the group,

IBM’s experience in working with Danone and P&G in cross company mentoring programmes.

Monika Waber from SwissRe, passionate about people and loves the action she gets in her business life, is

also a dedicated rower and loves the peace and tranquility she finds in the early morning on the lake.

Monika shared with the forum her personal experiences in progressing career-wise in large corporations. In

particular, she talked about the need for women to be confident, have courage, and support other women.

In addition, she emphasized the need for both formal mentoring relationships early in one’s career, as well

as putting yourself out there and building a structure of relationships that develop into informal

sponsorships as people progress in the organization.

Ines O’Donovan, Editor–in-Chief, International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching, teaches managers and

leaders on how to use mentoring and coaching for their daily leadership practices. She is passionate about

mentoring, and pointed out to the group, that leadership and mentoring is a two sided medal, require both

giving and taking. Initially it is also a big time investment for both parties.

© 2011 Women’s International Networking. All rights reserved. pg.2 of 7

Café Style Discussions

After the speakers finished sharing their stories

with the group, the forum moved into the

speaker-led café style discussions, focusing on

the subtopics addressed during the session:

Mentoring programmes/role of the

Women’s Leadership Councils/Teams

Mentoring circles

Cross company mentoring

The role of leaders as mentors

Informal mentoring /sponsorships.

Each subgroup was asked to focus on two key

questions, brainstorming possible factors and

identifying the two most important areas to


1. What needed to be in place for success

2. What barriers were in place that hindered


In summary, successful mentoring and

sponsorships require the following key factors,

and are common for all of the subtopics

addressed during the session:

Mutual trust

Active listening/mutual understanding


Openness in communication

Managing confidentiality

Key research findings (40 respondents):

Women’s leadership skills are enhanced by:

1. Believing in own abilities… self confidence 34%

2. Organization placing people in key assignments 26%

3. Mentoring (personal growth, sponsorships, skill development) 16%

4. Coaching 14%

5. Other areas (attending conferences, training, etc.) 10%

Decision-makers in organizations, in general, are NOT adequately providing women with sufficient

opportunities to foster mentoring relationships (46%). In most cases, mentoring is available only to high

potentials, if at all. It appears that companies are providing training for individuals.

© 2011 Women’s International Networking. All rights reserved. pg.3 of 7

Mentoring other women

Overall, 70% of the respondents mentor other women (58%) or would like to mentor other women (12%),

mainly in a private relationship or at work. At work, focus is placed more on skill development than on

personal growth or sponsorships. In private relationships, emphasis is placed more on personal growth and

sponsorships than on skill development.

Most people find it personally satisfying to help and support others. Those who do not mentor other

women (30%) mentioned traveling, lack of knowledge/experience and not being asked to mentor others as

reasons for not doing so.

Key topics for mentoring others include leadership, career management, building self-confidence/esteem

and work life balance.

Having a mentor

Overall, more than 80% of the women responding have a mentor (59%) or would like to have one (21%),

mainly at work or in a private relationship. In both cases, emphasis is placed on personal growth and career


Having a trusted advisor is one reason why people have a mentor. For those who do not have one (19%),

they either think they may have one, but it is not clear to them, or they have not found someone suitable.

The primary topics that people are being mentored on include career management, change management,

developing political savvy and building self-confidence.

Managing mentoring relationships

Most people (48%) use face to face meetings in managing their mentoring relationships. Using the phone

(28%), email (9%), or Skype (9%) are the key virtual methods used for working with others.


Most of the respondents are female (96%), corporate employees (77%), with 10-20 years’ work experience

(56%) and 35-44 years of age (63%). And, most respondents work in Human Resources (42%), or in IT (14%),

Finance (12%), Engineering (12%) or Sales Marketing (12%).


Special thank you to all the speakers, Tracey Upton, Emma Pearson, Alison Henwood, Jacqueline Ford,

Monika Waber and Ines O’Donovan for sharing their experiences on mentoring and leading the café style

discussions. I also want to extend a very special thank you to Fran O’Hara for assisting with the forum

process design, and capturing the session outcomes in the wonderful graphic recordings.

And, I want to thank the participants of session and those who completed the survey on women and


Summary prepared by Charleen Michel.

© 2011 Women’s International Networking. All rights reserved. pg.4 of 7

Photos from the Café Style Subgroup Discussions


Mentoring programmes/Women’s Council subgroup led by Tracey Upton

Cross company mentoring subgroup led by Jacqueline Ford

Leader as mentor subgroup led by Ines O’Donovan

Informal mentoring/sponsorships subgroup led by Monika Waber

Mentoring circles subgroup led by Alison Henwood and Emma Pearson

Summary of the cafe style discussions

© 2011 Women’s International Networking. All rights reserved. pg.5 of 7

Selected Quotes from Conference Participants and Speakers

Mentoring is a great way to stay connected to the younger generation. I find it very rewarding and have great

satisfaction in learning what is important for them. Mentoring discussions really do change people’s lives.” Christel

Verschaeren, Director Global Change Management and Europe Integration - CIO Organization, IBM

Mentoring is one of the most effective tools for professional and leadership development. It creates WIN-WIN-WIN

situations: for the Mentee/Protégé, the Mentor and the organization. So why is not everybody involved in one or

several mentoring relationships” Ines O'Donovan, Editor-in-Chief, International Coaching and Mentoring Journal

“A successful Mentor/Mentee/Protégé relationship is one where both feel energized by spending time together. In

addition to identification of goals and roles, a good Mentor manages to also listen for unarticulated goals and “see”

where a Mentee/Protégé is particularly enthusiastic and “lights” up.” Kristin Engvig, Founder and Director, (W.I.N.)

“In my experience as a Mentor, I have never ceased to be amazed at the value that flows both ways. Often my

Mentee/Protégés tell me that I have helped them come to new conclusions or courageous decisions through

challenging their thinking, fears and concerns. I guess it is for those reasons that they keep coming back!! What they

don’t always appreciate though, is that the learning, sense of enrichment and broader development as a result of

our conversations, also applies to me. It doesn’t matter how senior, how busy or how clever we think we are, there is

always something to be gained from being both a Mentor and a Mentee/Protégé. Long may it continue!” Anne M

Stevens, Vice President People & Organisation Copper, RioTinto

“The right mentor can have tremendous impact on your career. One aspiring women Non-Executive Director was

repeatedly told she’d be lucky to get a FTSE250 board role. Her mentor disagreed and told her to aim for the

FTSE100. She did and succeeded.” Provided by Elin Hurvenes, Founder, Professional Boards Forum

“The hidden mentor is the senior professional who gives you relevant advice that changes your approach – it sounds

usually simple on the spot – and reveals itself a determinant for life.” Helene Ratte, Partner, Diverseo

“Very often it’s about having the right mentor at the right time for the right purpose. If you are embarking on a new

career-path it’s helpful to have a mentor who knows his/her way around.” Participant at Professional Boards Forum

"Strong mentors are unforgettable; they can unlock the secrets to success by challenging you with great questions.

They can help you resolve work problems and provide invaluable wisdom from the experiences they've lived. I owe

key career milestones to my mentors and am proud to say that some of them remain friends to this day. Today, I

continually look to learn from people of all generations, both as a mentor and a mentee. Learning from others is a

never ending powerful process." Jeanette Horan, CIO, IBM.

“If a door looks open, give it a push…and go through. You never know what will be on the other side.” Participant at

the WINConference 2011 in Rome.

“It is never too late to become all that you can be!” Participant at the WINConference 2011 in Rome.

“Know that your opinion has value. Know it!” Participant at the WINConference 2011 in Rome.

“Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.” Laurentia Zondi, IBM, South Africa.

“As a female executive being mentored by a female region president I have found the mentee/mentor experience

incredibly rewarding and inspiring. Receiving valuable insights, advice and guidance from such a successful leader

helps me to grow faster as a leader and increase the impact that my team and I have on the organisations results.

Taking a small amount of time each month away from the day to day needs of an action packed business agenda to

focus on development is really important and it is great to know that I have Umran Beba’s full support. As a mentor

of several young females, I hope to be able to do the same for them one day soon.” Jenni Dill, PepsiCo Australia &

New Zealand Marketing Director

© 2011 Women’s International Networking. All rights reserved. pg.6 of 7

Process Summary:

A funneling process was used to capture highlights from the session, ensuring that all participants had an

opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences according to W.I.N.’s Networking Principles.

Annual WINConference Theme and Programme announced

Speakers selected from submitted proposals/sponsor organizations

6 Speakers and Moderator prepare for session

…based on brief from W.I.N. Office

Forum starts…Moderator provides overview of forum

…agenda presented as ‘mind map’

6 Speakers share inspiring stories with the group; 5-7 minutes each

…outcome captured on graphic recording

Divide into café style subgroups around 5 topics

…distribute post it notes and coloured pens

Participants discuss 2 questions

…record input on post it notes

Top 2 responses/question

…democratically selected

Forum reconvenes

…subgroups present findings

Session outcomes captured in graphic recording.

…used as a visual prompt and recording of the session.

Can be used by the W.I.N. Community

…communicate with others (traveling maps.)

© 2011 Women’s International Networking. All rights reserved. pg.7 of 7

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