The number of working women constantly increases and their career can move forward when the right people with the right support are around. It is no surprise that mentorship, in general, is one of the most powerful ways to reach higher career goals in a shorter period of time. But we would claim that for women, mentorship is even more important when it comes to a promising career in leading positions.
And we are not the only ones to claim so. The CEO of Novo Cinemas in Dubai, Debbie Standford-Kristiansen, holds the same view. We met her at the Global Female Leaders summit 2019 and asked why mentorship is so important for her and which experiences she made with this approach. This article provides a summary of that interview. If you are interested in the full version, watch the video below!
Female mentorship is a passion
Debbie Standford-Kristiansen promotes mentorship regularly because she received it herself. She also admits, that it really helped in her career development. After her graduation in Hospitality and Event Management at the Worthing College, she directly started as a Director of Sales at EIBTM in Switzerland. Moving to Great Britain and seven years later to Germany, she brought her career in sales to a totally new level. Continuing her career at Bahrain Exhibition, she became Deputy Chief Executive. Afterward, she arrived at the very top of the ladder when she became the CEO of Novo Cinemas.
If this woman is convinced of the benefits of female mentorship because she experienced it herself – it could also be a good advice for you to follow. But what is it exactly that convinces Debbie Standford-Kristiansen about mentorship? Well, a female mentor can give advice and motivation. She can bring you on the right path and point out the necessary soft skills you need – those that you would never realize on your own because you simply don’t know that they are necessary for your career. Soft skills like communication, problem-solving or self-confidence and much more – you often don’t learn them actively at the university.
Find a mentor who will help support you along that journey.
Debbie Standford-Kristiansen, CEO of Novo Cinemas, Dubai
Here is Debbie’s most important advice: Find someone who can fly the flag for you, who will be there to support you with every single step, even if it is just a meeting. So that you are doing things in the right way, instead of wasting time finding out that the path you are following doesn’t lead to the aim you wanted to achieve. Speaking about time – this is a reason too for the importance of female mentorship. We all have limited time on earth. Why should we waste it finding out ourselves what others already understood? Especially in business: If you learn the lessons earlier in your career, you can start gathering more experiences relevant to the success and innovation of your company.
Mentor programs in companies
Big and innovative companies (like EY) already understood the advantages of mentorship. They established internal structures that allow the human resource department to assign a mentor to every single employee – regardless of the position, whether the person is a senior manager, a junior employee or an intern. They focus on the growth and improvement of their protégés and automatically contribute to both.
If you are already in a leading position, you should definitely think about introducing such an approach in your company. The Global Female Leaders summit is certainly a good place to find your personal mentor. For Debbie Standford-Kristiansen, it was highly valuable to talk to all these amazing women representing different industries. We enjoyed it too and hope to see you (and your mentor) at the next Global Female Leaders summit!