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.
Successful mentoring and sponsorships require the following key factors, and are common for all of the
subtopics addressed during the session:
Active listening/mutual understanding
Openness in communication
© 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
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:
Active listening/mutual understanding
Openness in communication
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
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
…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