Roberta Clarke, Reginal Director of UN Women for Asia Pacific, and mentee discuss their future aspirations during flag bearer Mari Sawai’s 2013 Mentoring Walk in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo Credit: Satta Etrakal
This Saturday marks the 7th annual Global Mentoring Walk, a Vital Voices tradition that takes place on the same day in countries around the world each year, spearheaded by key members of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network. The 2013 Global Mentoring Walks will take place in 24 countries and 28 cities worldwide – the highest number to date.
Over the years, this initiative has had a positive impact on thousands of women globally. As established and emerging women leaders come together for a walk, they exchange ideas, resources, and best practices. The effect is to create an environment for women to connect and collaborate, and to support the advancement of women leaders across sectors and fields.
Thirty one members of our Network are serving as this year’s flag bearers, organizing Mentoring Walk events around the world. Meet some of these outstanding leaders:
Mari Sawai is a Global Ambassadors Program mentee and Co-Founder of Wedu, a leadership development and mentoring organization in Bangkok, Thailand. Wedu uses a combination of mentorship and innovative financing options to support young women in complete higher education.
Mentoring is a vital tool in developing the next generation of young women leaders. As Mari explains, “mentorship encourages you to take leadership and aim for higher.” For Mari, then, organizing the Mentoring Walk in Bangkok is a natural extension of her work. The Walk’s 50 participants include prominent Thai leaders from Google, UN Women, and Ashoka, who will mentor university students.
Extraordinarily, the impact of mentoring will continue even after Saturday’s events. As Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices, has said, “I can’t pay it back, so I have to pay it forward. And that’s the power of mentoring– it’s cyclical.” Further evidence from Catalyst shows that 65% of women who have been mentored pay it forward by mentoring someone else. It’s a statistic that rings true for women in the Vital Voices Network-take, for example, Rima Kotaiche.
Rima El-Husseini is a mentee from the Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership and the Co-Owner of Blessing, a fine chocolates business in Beirut, Lebanon. After being mentored by Susan D. Whiting of the Nielsen Company through the program last year, she went on to establish the Blessing Foundation. Its mission is to empower women in business by creating opportunities for mentorship, employment, and access to microloans.
Building upon the success of last year’s Walk, Rima is growing and strengthening the network of businesswomen in Lebanon through her initiative. She is inviting the 70 participants from 2012 and 50 new participants to attend a mentoring workshop, designed to deepen their mentoring relationships and inspire them to support women’s leadership throughout the region.
Mari and Rima are only two examples of the thirty one flag bearers who are globally united to accelerate the impact of women leaders through mentoring. Join us and women worldwide on November 16th as we inspire the next generation of women leaders to make a difference.