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The Global Ambassadors Program continued on Tuesday with structured mentoring sessions and conversations on Arab businesswomen as change-makers across town at the 4th Annual Qatari International Businesswomen’s Forum.

The Forum featured a Bank of America Merrill Lynch panel discussion on the importance of women’s leadership development and the impact of mentoring. Jennifer Taylor and Elif Bilgi Zapparoli, both Bank executives, shared insights into how mentoring is critical to strengthening networks and expanding business opportunities.

After informational mentoring and additional optional trainings in the afternoon, mentors and mentees were invited to an evening reception at the United States Embassy in Qatar hosted by Ambassador Susan L. Ziadeh. Participants had the opportunity to connect with a group of over 60 prominent Qatari women leaders in government, business and civil society who, through their work and advocacy, lead the way for women to contribute to a more sustainable future for the country.

On Wednesday, pairs of mentors and mentees continued to work one-on-one and in small groups to define business plans, sketch out marketing strategies and think creatively about sustaining operations through times of crisis and instability.

“Not only have they started to mentor each other,” said Paula Dominick, global compliance executive at Bank of America and mentor to Rana Kotaiche of Lebanon. “They’ve started to challenge each other – and that’s when you know they’ll succeed.”

Three days in to the program, constructive feedback was critical for reaching breakthrough moments and a shared sense of progress.

“I deeply believe you have to be honest with the people you work with,” explains Global Ambassador Denise Mennelly of Bank of America. “I’ve coached and mentored women and men for many years. I like to help people understand what they need to do to succeed.”

Denise’s mentee, Abeer Abu Gaith, an ambitious social entrepreneur from Hebron, absorbs the flow of planning and management advice like a sponge, already thinking about how she will apply it to scale her business connecting women in Palestine to employment opportunities.

“I grew up in a refugee camp,” says Abeer. “I lived in a place where you had to create your own opportunities to survive.”

Coming Thursday: Mentoring Walk in Doha with 200 Qatari businesswomen and professionals.

Watch this blog for updates throughout the week.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, hashtag #GlobalAmbassadors.

Read the first and second posts about the Qatar mentoring forum and check out the Global Ambassadors page at Bank of America.

Photo gallery by Micky Wiswedel: