Mentoring Scheme


Overview


The 30% Club mentoring scheme, developed with the support of EY and now delivered by Women Ahead, offers cross-company, cross-sector mentoring to women at every layer of the career pyramid. It aims to complement other schemes in the marketplace, or within individual organisations, where cross-company mentoring is usually only available to very senior women. This is part of a series of 30% Club initiatives aimed at helping to develop a broader pipeline of women and ‘balance the pyramid’ at all levels. Each participating organisation defines the pivot point at which it sees a divergence between career paths of men and women, and invites key women in this ‘danger zone’ into the mentoring scheme. Mentors are seasoned professionals (both men and women) with substantial business experience who hold leadership roles within their organisation. The feedback from both mentees and mentors reinforces our hope that the scheme can be beneficial for, ultimately, thousands of women and their companies. Mentees report on the liberating nature of a mentoring relationship outside their own company, feeling able to discuss issues without restrictions and appreciating the access to impartial advice. Mentors report that the experience has taught them more about the issues being faced by high-potential women – and has provided eye-opening insights into the issues likely being faced by women in their own organisation.

Now in its third year in the UK, the initiative has had tremendous success and with Women Ahead supporting behind the scenes we have been able to scale and grow this offering. With more than 640 mentors and mentees and 48 organisations taking part – this scheme represents the power of mentoring at its best and is now expanding globally, in 2015 we have launched a pilot in the US and Ireland. The UK cohort hosted a special launch event at the Barbican on 15th September 2015 and you can see a short film about this here

The cross-company mentoring scheme has recently extended to help build the pipeline and parity of women on sports boards, and now matches women leaders working in sporting organisations with male and female mentors who are leaders of corporate organisations. This unique sport-to-business mentoring scheme is rooted in the belief that no matter what our choice of career, we can all benefit profoundly from escaping our silos and engaging with different perspectives. It challenges the status quo by matching senior men and women in business - rather than sports people - to mentor women in sport. 


Format


30% Club mentoring schemes are currently operating in the UK, the USA and Ireland (consideration is being given to rolling the scheme out in other countries).The mentoring scheme offers opportunities to high potential women. Mentors are male and female leaders from participating organisations.

Geographies
The scheme is currently based in the UK, Ireland and US.

Selection
On the cross-company scheme mentor to mentee ratio is one-to-one and there must be equal numbers within each layer of the mentoring scheme. Our recommendation is that mentors and mentees volunteer to take part in the programme and are then selected by their organisation based on internal criteria. It is critical that all mentors and mentees are committed to the scheme and are prepared to make the time to meet or speak with their selected mentor/mentee.

Timings
The scheme runs for nine months ever year, with the option to extend for a further six months on an informal basis. To find out specific timings for the chapter you wish to join, please contact the country Scheme Manager.

Meetings
One-to-one mentoring meetings take place monthly or, at a minimum, every six weeks for an hour or two. We encourage monthly meetings in order to build up sufficient momentum over the nine-month period. The onus is on mentees to schedule and travel to meetings.

Matching process
The matching of mentors and mentees is facilitated by an online system with input and oversight from the scheme manager. Mentors and mentees are paired appropriately according to key criteria (e.g. professional experience, managerial experience, geographic location, gender, ethnicity and interests) and the system is designed to eliminate concerns over conflicts of interest and confidentiality issues. The scheme is cross-sector and matches will reflect that.

Administrative practicalities
Each organisation nominates a senior leader sponsor and a key contact to select and recruit mentees and mentors.

Events
As well as a number of mentee networking events, the scheme holds three main, central events each year.

Virtual mentoring
We encourage virtual mentoring and learning when it is not possible to attend meetings and events in person. The Women Ahead team will assist people to access information virtually and make the most of one-to-one meetings that take place virtually.

Confidentiality
We ask participants to respect confidentiality and existing employment relationships.

Measuring progress
Progress will be measured through the online system. Each organisation will be able to generate an aggregated, anonymised report that can be fed back into their organisation at the end the scheme. We will also carry out regular feedback pulse-checks and reporting.

In order to optimise the benefits of the scheme the 30% Club has partnered with Women Ahead to support the mentoring scheme across all chapters. Women Ahead provide support to The 30% Club, mentors, mentees and share their expertise around mentoring to ensure the scheme’s success and a positive experience for participants. Women Ahead is a team of global experts in mentoring, coaching and leadership development who are focused on the development of women in sport and business. Their core team comprises mentoring experts who have designed, implemented and evaluated more than 250 mentoring programmes over the last ten years across a range of organisations, global locations and objectives (www.women-ahead.org).


How to join


To register interest for the 2016-17 cohort or make further enquiries, please contact the country Scheme Manager. Please also see the relevant country chapter pages for further participation details.

  • UK Rebecca Davies: Rebecca@women-ahead.org
  • Ireland Donal Hackett: donal.hackett@imi.ie
  • US Catie Faison: cfaison6@bloomberg.net

For individuals who are interested in becoming mentors, and who meet the above criteria, please contact the relevant country’s Scheme Manager listed above. We are particularly looking for mentors who would be keen to mentor our 30% Club Business Schools scholarship winners and women in sport.