Inspiring women leaders to mark International Women’s Day by mentoring the next generation

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At a time when leadership is critical to South Africa, a group of established, successful and inspiring South African women will take emerging leaders under their wing in a conversation-starting, paradigm-shifting event like no other. On the 8 March 2015, in celebration of International Women’s Day, directors, CEOs, CFOs, business executives and entrepreneurs will align themselves with women from around the world in the Global Mentoring Walk.

For many young professionals one of the most important steps in forging a successful career has been the guidance and support of a committed mentor.  Research has shown that mentorship was the number one request of millennials worldwide. Effective mentorship can open doors to new networks, collaborations and opportunities and strengthens the leadership potential of young professionals. Research has also shown that 59% of individuals who have been mentored, go on to mentor others or “pay it forward” in some way building a positive cycle of leadership development.

Mentorship has also proven to be an effective strategy for meeting common challenges faced by professionals, particularly for those of certain demographic groups; for instance women who still face many challenges in today’s corporate environment.

Originally conceived by American media icon, founder and former CEO of Oxygen Media, Geraldine Laybourn, the Global Mentoring Walk pairs together mentors with young professionals and aspiring leaders. Since 2008, through the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network spearheading events in their respective countries, over 30 countries now partake in the initiative, South Africa included. Hosted by The Passionate Professional, a leadership incubator founded by Hema Vallabh, the Global Mentoring Walk will see over 100 women walkers enjoy the beauty of a Joburg summer’s day while forging relationships that could change their careers and lives. Over 40 mentors have been invited to take part in this closed event with potential mentees given the opportunity to apply for one of the coveted positions alongside them.

“The success of the Mentoring Walk really boils down to providing a conducive environment to introduce mentoring relationships. You have top successful C-suite executives next to young ambitious leaders, all donned in t-shirts and slacks, taking a walk in the park and simply having a chat as women. That’s when the magic happens!” says Vallabh, a thought leader in mentorship in South Africa.

Hema launched the Mentoring Walk concept in South Africa in 2013 and has since hosted four successful events, including the Global Mentoring Walk in 2013 and 2014. While some mentees take away a new sense of purpose from these walks, many of the pairings have resulted in ongoing mentorship relationships. Vallabh believes that events such as the Global Mentoring Walk go a long way towards breaking the stigma that successful women are not forthcoming in helping other women reach similar positions.
“I fundamentally believe that mentorship, when done right, can be such a powerful leadership development tool, and as such I am passionate about creating awareness and platforms to advance the practice of mentorship in a meaningful and impactful way,” says Vallabh who through The Passionate Professional hosts a number of events aimed at promoting and building successful mentoring partnerships.
For more information about Global Mentoring Walk visit www.mentoringwalk.co.za and The Passionate Professional www.thepassionateprofessional.org.

For media queries, interview request, access to high res pics etc please contact JT Comms on media@jtcomms.co.za or (011) 788 7631/2

Issued by JT Communication Solutions on behalf of The Passionate Professional

Notes:
The Passionate Professional is a leadership incubator focused on developing leaders through mentorship. Using mentorship as a leadership development tool, The Passionate Professional is creating a paradigm shift in the way mentorship is understood, approached and implemented. This is achieved through its novel and impactful range of Mentorship-related experiential training and service offerings.

Founder and CEO of The Passionate Professional  has over eight years of experience in designing, building and successfully operating Mentorship and Coaching programs. An alumna of the FORTUNE/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring program, she has become a mentorship specialist, developing key content and interventions which she now hosts under her Leadership Incubator.

Being a chemical engineer by profession with five years of technical experience with a large South African corporate, Hema has a first-hand understanding of the corporate structure and culture that exists in the South African business world. Complimented with two years of international exposure living and working abroad and seven years of building and expanding the global non-profit organisation WomEng (which in itself has a strong focus on mentorship) and a qualification as a Certified Ontological Coach, Hema brings together a wealth of experience and powerful combination of expertise.