Groundwork Northern Ireland launched a new mentoring programme in December aimed at connecting today's female business leaders with tomorrows leaders. This programme is funded by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The launch took place in Stormont Parliament Buildings on Monday 4th December 2017, sponsored by North Belfast MLA Paula Bradley & MC'D by television presenter Pamela Ballantine. Fourty mentors from a wide range of sectors, handpicked for their diversity and experience met their mentees for the first time.
During the launch, both mentors and mentees heard from a range of speakers who shared their experiences of how mentoring has shaped their personal development. Over the coming months, the mentors will meet their mentees through varied events and planned sessions. They will share their own experiences, skills and and advice aimed at helping to develop thier leadership skills, confidence and understanding of the role they can play in society.
The mentors taking part come from a wide range of sectors throughout Northern Ireland, including senior figures from The Big Lottery Fund, Deloitte, Business in the Community and Ulster University. As part of the programme all fourty mentees will become fully paid members of Women in Business for a year. Here the mentees can avail of further expertise, guidance and an array of member events that will further guide them in their journey.
Our Chief Executive Paula Quigley said;
"The crux of this programme is to connect grassroots women with female leaders currently doing great things in their respective fields. When engaging with our mentees we learned that they had obtained a variety of qualifications and certificates but there was a real gap in the marketplace for practical training and advice. For a variety of reasons, personal, financial, available opportunities women were not grtting the practical guidance to alloe them to get to the next stage in business. We hope this mentorship programme will bridge this gap".
Prior to the mentees meeting their mentors at the launch event, the mentees were given some time to meet as a group, to get to know each other and share their expectations and hopes for the programme. During this period, they also had the opportunity to visit the US Consulate General Daniel Lawton. They will also visit the Irish Parliament Dáil Éireann in the New Year.
Paula Quigley explains the purpose of these visits;
"These buildings; Stormont Parliament Buildings, along with the US Embassy and Irish Parliament are venues that we see every day and take for granted. They seem out of reach for most of us. These visits are a way of breaking down these perceived barriers to so-called out of reach institutions. These buildings are accessible to us all and it is important that we know that".
Pictured left to right; Alison McNulty-CEO Tiny Life, Paula Bradley MLA, Paula Quigley- CEO Groundwork NI and Mentee Glena McDowell.