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  • Writer's pictureCindy Lithimbi-Ondego

Speed-dating: For Working Women

'A rising tide lifts all boats'. JFK was referring to the US economy when he used the adage. We're using it to guide our new mentoring series this month, 'speed-dating for working women.' For and by women in business and the workplace.

What is the problem?

There is a startling lack of female advocates and mentors in business and the workplace today. Paraphrasing from a recent headline, 'the #MeToo movement - a social movement against sexual abuse and sexual harassment - may have helped men learn how to treat women with respect, but several studies show that women still haven’t learned how to treat each other'.

If I tell her the truth about her product, will I seem rude? If I suggest to her an alternative approach, will she think I’m a know-it-all? Women often don’t want to be seen as ‘too emphatic’ towards one another. So they remain polite, skirting around the real issues, and playing directly into the stereotype of preferring to remain likeable.

This is a problem for women. Already weighed down by structural and institutional gender biases, without female mentors women in business and the workplace women simply can’t traverse the learning curve as fast. In business and entrepreneurship where you need to make mistakes and learn from them quickly, the impact can be huge.

What is the solution?

During the month of March, MombasaWorks is holding a series of ‘speed-dates’ between women in business/professions (the mentees) and women with 10-15 years’ more experience (the mentors). The idea of this series is to pave the way for more use of this highly efficient learning model – mentoring and coaching - both in networks of female entrepreneurs and women and business, as well as women in workplace.

Who are the mentors?

We have chosen mentors based on their experience, (typically 10 to 15 years ahead) and their willingness to share specific and relevant examples from their own careers. Mentoring of this kind takes a story-telling approach, because stories evoke emotion and empathy connecting women. So far we have female mentors in the following sectors: banking, finance, senior civil service, legal, project management, international development and academic research.

These generous women are in our community, living and working in Mombasa, so sessions can be held in-person or virtually.

Mentors are being identified on a rolling basis so please send us an email if you're interested in being a mentor.

How do I become a mentee?

Mentees are shortlisted on a first-come first serve basis, but with much consideration made to the ‘fit’ of the problem shared, to the mentor in question. All you need to do is complete this short questionnaire and we will be in touch with you to schedule your session.

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