The Global Ambassadors Program mentoring forum in India closed with a Mentoring Walk* on Saturday morning, led by the 12 Global Ambassadors and mentees and joined by Mumbai’s rising female talent in business, media, law and banking.
Side by side, Mentoring Walk participants engaged in tactical, constructive conversations on a range of topics, including business management, balancing risk and reward and the importance of staying connected to peers. It was also a chance for the week’s mentees to serve as mentors to some of the women present as part of “Team FLO,” the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) women’s division (FICCI FLO).
The Mentoring Walk was the perfect finale of a successful program stretched over five days in two cities. Long term mentoring relationships were facilitated for maximum engagement and impact, and two multi-stakeholder public dialogues were staged to explore new pathways to women’s economic advancement in India. But the real mentoring magic happened outside of the hotel conference room.
From airport lines in Delhi and Mumbai, to site visits to women-owned workshops, and from the back of the minibus idling in traffic, to the bhangra dance floor of a reception hosted by FICCI FLO leaders, Global Ambassadors and mentees took advantage of unstructured time to get to know each other personally and share stories and reflections on what they’ve achieved and where they hope their journeys will lead.
“I didn’t really know what to expect from this launch week. I was just hoping that it would be something that’s ongoing – that was my only expectation. And it’s been above and beyond that. So the first week in this format of all of us living together, going through workshops together and then travelling together has really built that deep relationship. And I feel like I’ve genuinely gotten time to get to know Candace.”
– Akanksha Hazari, mentored by Candace Browning, head of global research, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Mentor/mentee reciprocity was a recurring theme through the week, a sentiment shared by Global Ambassador Susan Chambers, executive vice president, People Division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., when she admitted she had a lot to learn from Smita Mankad, her mentee:
“When you have a leader like Smita, she’ll find a way to do the ‘good,’ and to do the ‘well,’ and do it successfully, which means she’ll draw other people into an economic opportunity they probably wouldn’t have otherwise. And that changes everything.”
*The Global Women’s Mentoring Walk concept was developed by Global Ambassador Gerry Laybourne, founder of Oxygen Media, from early morning walks around Central Park in New York City with women professionals seeking career advice. Today, the Global Women’s Mentoring Walks pair established and emerging women professionals in mentoring partnerships in communities across the globe.
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Photos: David Hume Kennerly