Today, trainer Kathleen Holland led the group through a rigorous, methodical strategic planning and goal setting session. This will establish a common framework for mentees and mentors to work through goals and objectives in innovative ways, leading to new business plans and strategies for growth. These plans will be iterated throughout the week and presented for group feedback and discussion on the last day.
The discussion made Khadija Idrissi Janati of Morocco realize that her business has reached a certain level of maturity. “This is the first time ever I thought it was useful to do a business plan,” she said.
Aline Kamakian of Lebanon and her mentor Reiko Hayashi of Japan considered ways to expand on plans to make her restaurant business ‘green.’ “I’m understanding it much better now,” Aline said. “I am seeing it from a different point of view so I think the results should be much better.” Reiko is impressed with Aline’s passion and dedication to sustainability.
Over lunch, we had one of our favorite elements of a Global Ambassadors Program week – an informal conversation where mentors ask questions of their peers on a range of subjects, such as managing conflicts of interest, modeling leadership best practices, making transitions and taking risks. It’s a “safe space” conversation where mentees absorb the lessons learned from their mentors’ remarkable professional journeys. Part confessional, part instructional, it’s always one of the best exchanges in our time together.
“My main obstacle was whether I would stay in the industry or not,” said Iman Wadi, general manager of International Elevators Group “Schindler” in Ramallah, Palestine. She was the first female mechanical engineer for elevators in her country and the work environment was not exactly welcoming. “I was a bet. My male colleagues bet that I would quit within one year. I constantly had to prove myself.”
Shelley Brindle, outgoing executive vice president of HBO’s Domestic Network Distribution, made the case for valuing output over face time, and staying data-driven on deliverables. “Have the courage to put limitations on how you spend your time,” she said to the group. “My team cheered when I started leaving the office at 5:30.”
The rest of the day was packed with social media training led by Wendy Ruiz CofiĢ±o, one-on-one mentoring sessions and virtual financial mentoring with Bank of America experts who lend their time and talent, by phone, to help mentees tackle specific challenges. A long, intense day wound down as participants headed in to a night off to process new ideas buzzing with new friends united around a common goal of advancing women leaders around the world.
Above: Group photo at The Lensbury, Teddington
Photography: David Hume Kennerly