Last Friday, I had the pleasure alongside my manager Rose (a fellow mentor) to attend the annual celebration event for the Empowering Girls programme and meet fellow mentors and mentees. It was fantastic to hear the positive feedback and the impact the programme has made to date. Earlier this year, we celebrated National Mentoring Month, including both the in-house and external mentoring we actively endorse as a team at Software Solved.
As I reflect on the impact of mentorship, one crucial aspect stood out— the importance of exposing young girls to careers in male-dominated industries, alongside more obvious options. Through the Empowering Girls programme, we strive to break barriers, inspire aspirations, and allow girls to explore all possibilities. The Always 2014 marketing campaign, #LikeAGirl* is an excellent example of an ad with the purpose of raising the issue of sexism towards women and striving to turn that phrase into something positive; to feel empowered and confident in their own skin and not ashamed of who they are. This campaign resonates deeply with the core principles of the Empowering Girls programme and the power of mentorship. Just as the campaign aims to redefine the phrase “like a girl” as a source of strength, mentorship plays a pivotal role in empowering young girls to embrace their true potential and break free from societal prejudices and limitations.
I’ve picked out key benefits from my mentoring to date:
Nurturing development and self-discovery
Mentoring allows for self-reflection and personal growth. I have met inspiring female mentors and latterly through this programme, all from various career paths. Those individuals have advised and helped me enormously. Engaging in conversations with my mentee about her aspirations, goals, and challenges allowed me to gain fresh perspectives and contribute to her own personal growth in some small way.
Fuelling career exploration
As a mentor, you have the chance to guide that individual through the maze of career choices, which I know first-hand seems daunting at first. By sharing real experiences and insights, you can help empower them to confidently explore different career paths, particularly ones they may have never thought or dreamed of, a similar guidance programme I wish I had been exposed to myself. I enjoyed hearing about my mentees’ passions, strengths and interests and linking them to relevant career options and possibilities.
Fostering self-assurance and resilience
Witnessing the growth in a mentee’s confidence is one of the most rewarding aspects of mentoring. By creating a safe and supportive environment where you listen to their ideas and visions, you can encourage mentees to believe in themselves, their abilities and help transform them from being less confident to becoming self-assured individuals.
Cultivating a ripple effect of inspiration and empowerment
One powerful example from my experience was with my mentee, who showed a particular interest in animals. As we explored various opportunities in animal-related fields, her enthusiasm grew. She revealed she was a big fan of Professor Noel Fitzpatrick and was inspired by his work. She expressed her desire to pursue voluntary work in animal welfare when she was able to take part in work experience, which not only reinforced her dedication but also highlighted her compassionate nature. Seeing the positive transformation in my mentee’s confidence and her commitment to making a difference around her was inspiring. It serves as a reminder that mentorship has the potential to create a ripple effect, touching the lives of those around the mentee and inspiring others to follow. Mentoring through the Empowering Girls programme has been a transformative and fulfilling experience. Hearing feedback from the school that my mentee enjoyed the sessions was very rewarding to hear.
The impact of mentorship through the programme extends beyond guiding and empowering young girls — it is about breaking barriers, challenging stereotypes, and promoting gender diversity in male-dominated industries. I highly recommend mentoring to positively impact and help create a brighter future for the next generation. Collectively, we can demonstrate that anything is possible with the right support and guidance. Exposing girls to a wide range of career options and connecting them with relevant mentors, enables them to realise their true potential. Equipped with this knowledge, girls can overcome obstacles and boldly carve their own paths in whichever career they choose to pursue.
Interested in becoming a mentor? Find out more about the Empowering Girls programme here:
*Like a Girl – Always TV Commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yLXrWLvwAo