The seventh edition of the Global Mentoring Walk took place on Saturday, March 3rd in Łazienki Królewskie. Warsaw has initiated a series of events to be held in 151 cities of 60 countries of the world. Several thousands of women (and men) from almost all continents are taking part in a project which supports, inspires and shapes the female leaders of the future, all in order to make the world a better place. The idea of the walk was created by an international organisation, Vital Voices Global Partnership.
Out of almost 200 applications sent by women from all corners of Poland, a hundred have been selected to act as mentees. Each of woman is different, but they share a common belief: empowerment spreads the moment it is shared with others. The same idea is shared by mentors, selected on the basis of information provided in their application forms. This year among the Mentors are: Zofia Dzik (Fundacja Humanites), Jowita Michalska (Digital University), Wojciech Bojanowski (a TVN journalist) and Marek Metrycki (Deloitte).
The idea of Global Mentoring Walk is very simple: while walking together, successful leaders meet women who aspire to become one. The leader counsels and advises their mentee, they discuss their professional challenges and share their experiences. The best part of it is the fact that the relationship is often long-lasting, both sides keep in touch and continue the mentoring on their own – says Ela Raczkowska, CEO of Vital Voices Polska.
The idea of Mentoring Walks was born when Geraldine Laybourne, then-CEO and founder of Oxygen Media realised that her tight schedule did not give her time for meetings with dozens of young women who were asking for her guidance. She came up with a plan to allow it to happen – Laybourne started inviting these women to her daily walks. Seeing how powerful and successful this simple formula was, she organised Mentoring Walks in the key cities of the USA. Her bottom line was to underline the importance of mentoring and to give American women access to it. Today the idea has been successfully adapted across the world.
Warsaw inaugurated this year’s series of Global Mentoring Walks – next week the event is taking place in London. Last year more than 13 000 people took part in GWM and I think that this year the number will be even higher. I am happy to see that the idea has been embraced in countries which need strong female leaders, such as India, Ghana, Argentina, the Ukraine, Ethiopia, Pakistan or Jordan. We should remember that such local actions are crucial. Our world is changing one step at a time – sums up Ela Raczkowska.
Mentoring Walks draw the attention of many world leaders. A year ago the events in Trinidad and Tobago, Liberia, Costa Rica and South Africa were sponsored by the representatives of the US embassy, baroness Mary Goudie from the British House of Lords participated in the Mentoring Walk in London and the First Lady Martine Moïse appeared at the Mentoring Walk in Haiti. Numerous women – leaders in business, technology, consulting, media and diplomacy were actively involved in the project as speakers, mentors and volunteers.
Global Mentoring Walks are a platform which connects recognised leaders and a new generation of women, girls who will push the boundaries and solve problems in order to make the world a better place for all of us – adds the head of Vital Voices.
It is worth adding that, depending on the country, Vital Voices walks also send additional messages. Last year in Dnipropetrovsk (the Ukraine), Olena Galushko organised her walk around the subject of rational management of resources and ecological management. The participants of the Mentoring Walk wore green to show their support for growing ecological sustainability. In South Africa Rehema Isa and Hema Vallabh joined their forces to lead a walk across Pretoria titled “Her Story, Your Story, Shared Stories”. In Mexico City Luz Maria de la Mora gathered mentors and their mentees to promote the leadership of women in the field of technology. In Pakistan, Sujag theatre group performed at the Mentoring Walk in Johi and spoke about the dangers arising from child marriages.
Global Mentoring Walk has been organised in Poland since 2012. Its main idea focuses on developing the potential of women who actively work in the world of politics, business, culture and science.
GSK was the Main Partner of the action. The strategic partners were: Coca Cola HBC, the Museum of Łazienki Królewskie and the US Embassy.
Supporting partners: Technologia w spódnicy, Digital University, Hotel Intercontinental, Belvedere Catering by Design, AmCham, Klub SheXO by Deloitte.
Media partners: Elle, Madame, Wysokie Obcasy, TVN.
Image gallery from the event can be found here.