What is the limit when mentors from Europe join to create a wave for women decision makers in sport?
The SWinG partners are aiming at addressing one of the sport pressing challenge. That is of bringing in more diversity in the boardroom. To do so they have been working hard since January this year to develop a concept meant to help close the gender gap. The time is now for this concept to be tested!
With the SWinG Mentors Orienteering Session that took place in Paris, on October 4, we are starting the pilot testing of our concept idea.
When did this all started?
Everything started a year ago. When we received the great news that our application for the SWinG project had been accepted for funding. Indeed SWING is a 3 years project funded by the Erasmus+ programme.
Since then the team and the whole partnership have been working tirelessly to bring the idea to life. In particular we are gearing towards the DEVELOPMENT & PILOT a new TRANSFERABLE APPROACH. This includes a mentoring programme.
And we could not have dreamt of such a success. Neither of such a warm welcome for the initiative. For instance, we received 49 applications as mentees and 47 as mentors! While the SWinG call for participants had been opened for only 3 weeks late July-Beginning of August…
As a result of an intense and hard selection and matching exercise, 20 couples of mentors and mentees had been forged. They are gathering 21 nationalities across the European continent. They were informed and publicly announced late September.
What was the purpose of this SWinG Mentors Orienteering Session?
This is an exciting time for the SWinG partnership as we are starting to roll out our concept.
On 4 October 2019 we gathered 17 -out of the 20- selected mentors at the MEDEF headquarters in Paris. This had been a first step towards the successful implementation of the SWinG mentoring scheme. The day was intentionally built to facilitate the creation of a community of SWinG mentors. It also helped to ensure a common understating of the SWinG mentoring approach and expectations. In addition it was made to learn from and capitalize on the various mentoring experience of the mentors. From our perspective it went well beyond expectations!
What was discussed at the SWinG Mentors Orienteering Session?
The first and main lesson is that there is no mountain high enough to break the will of women wanting to bring in change in whatever field.
The selected mentors are from 8 different countries. they were selected to bring in very different backgrounds and experience both in terms of mentoring and relationship to sport.
And yet the bonds were created naturally! For they do have one thing in common: their success in the business world and their wish to open the door for other women to succeed.
It was thus extremely powerful and inspiring to hear all of them in Paris -during the SWinG Mentors Orienteering Session- committing themselves to act as a CATALYST FOR CHANGE in boosting access of women to elected leadership positions in sport. What is even more promising being certainly the wave that was created and the expressed willingness to work together as a pack.
For half a day, we exchanged about the SWinG project, introduced the mentors to the specificities of the sport governance and election and discussed the details of the SWinG mentoring scheme. The main aim was indeed to build solid foundation for this 18 months’ individualized support system that is being developed.
What is next?
In the coming weeks, each mentor will be officially introduced to their mentee. In addition, a 3 days SWinG Mentee Empowering Session will be organized in Copenhagen from 8 till 10 of November.
From then on, the SWinG Mentoring scheme will roll out, providing one of the pillar of the support system designed through the SWinG project to help the selected mentees in their journey towards election.
“It is one thing to have an idea and to dream of its implementation. It is something else to see it coming alive –despite all the hard work it requires. I believe that a mentoring scheme can be a tremendous accelerator for all. It allows the mentee to go through some shortcut with the help of the mentor. And I feel not only grateful but blessed to have seen and experienced the energy that was to be felt last Friday in the MEDEF room. Not only have the 17 mentors who joined the SWinG Orienteering Session took a day off to join us, they all came to share their tips and willingness to pass on knowledge. They are a gift to the project and obviously to their mentee. I cannot thank them enough for their time and trust. I must add, I cannot wait to see the relationships that will be created through the SWinG Mentoring scheme.” Carole Ponchon, SWinG Project Leader