LEAD Network Mentoring Event

16th October 2019
Unilever N.V
Weena 455
3013 AL Rotterdam

THE LEAD NETWORK  Mentoring Event

3 Ways the Right Mentor Can Accelerate Your Career Advancement

How can the right mentor help you to advance in your career, get different perspectives and even learn different skills? What makes reverse mentoring so special? Conny Braams, EVP Unilever Middle Europe, and Christian Kaufmann, CFO Unilever Europe, shared their personal experiences on mentoring which helped them and their mentees advance professionally and be their best. On 16th October, the Unilever LEAD Network team organized an inspirational mentoring event at Unilever Europe’s headquarters. Here are the 3 ways…

1. Be clear on the outcome of the mentoring
Depending on the skills and expertise you need to succeed, you should find the right mentor for yourself. They may teach you what you need to know or advise you on where to go for the information you need. This may happen in two ways – being mentored by a  senior leader in your organization or by a university student on digital skills for example. As long as you are clear on your expectations of this relationship, you can find the right mentor with the right experience and skills to support you. A great example/programme called ‘Embark’ was shared by Christian Kaufmann: Embark is a reverse mentoring service connecting young, talented Syrians with established business leaders to exchange ideas, develop understanding and build meaningful connections. Reverse mentoring subverts the traditional way people think about mentorship. Christian believes that there is incredible value in pairing people with different cultural backgrounds or life experiences to challenge assumptions and build bridges, especially if you have moved to a country as an expat business leader.

2. Work with your mentor to build your personal brand
Mentors help you to create your personal brand by asking the right questions. They help you realize skills that make you special and find out ‘your competitive advantage’. Why do you want that specific job/title and why should a company choose you? What makes you special? The sooner you build your personal brand the better for your career advancement. They can be your guide and “sounding board” for ideas, helping you decide on the best course of action in difficult situations.

3. Keep relationships you treasure
“In different stages of your life you may might have different needs. And based on these needs, you might need mentors from different sectors with different expertise. Keep the relationships you treasure” said Conny Braams. In all these cases, mentee-mentor relationships can be a great solution to building the right network and get the best out of people.

Prior to this inspirational event, the LEAD Network team in Unilever initiated a mentoring pilot with 20 Mentor – Mentee couples across various functions and countries in Europe. The pilot saw great initial results and the ambition is to make this activity even bigger in 2020. A big thank you to Yoerike Rijkers (HRBP SC Europe), Ebru Dolunay (International Business Development Manager), Lushentha Naidoo (Finance Manager) and Fatma Tek (LEAD Network Ambassador at Unilever and Global Portfolio Manager). Please get in contact with any of them in case of any further questions.