The Minister for Equality, the Hon. Samantha Sacramento MP, recently held a feedback and networking session for all participants of the second cycle of the Ministry of Equality’s Women’s Mentorship Programme.
Following the success of the pilot cycle, the Women’s Mentorship Programme has continued to generate a great deal of interest and has grown from strength to strength. Over 60 participants are currently enrolled in the second cycle of the Programme, which began in July and which will conclude in November.
The Programme is supported by a wide cross section of the community and enjoys the endorsement of key stakeholder organisations including the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce, Girls in Tech Gibraltar, Women in Business, and EY Gibraltar. The voluntary involvement of these key community organisations – who are each represented on the Programme Panel – and the Programme’s high-calibre mentors, are crucial to its success.
Feedback from participants clearly demonstrates the tangible, positive impact of the Women’s Mentorship Programme in promoting Gender Equality in the workplace. The Programme strongly encourages men as well as women from across Gibraltar’s private and public sectors to volunteer as mentors. Through fostering strong individual relationships, the Programme works to break down barriers, as well as actively supporting women to achieve their personal and professional goals.
The feedback and networking session, held half-way through the second cycle of the Programme, was an invaluable opportunity for participants to reflect on and share their experiences, and to expand their Women’s Mentorship Programme network beyond their individual mentor-mentee relationships. The aim is to create and develop a talent pool of participants in order to expand the reach of the Programme and generate further outcomes that have a positive domino effect on the wider community.
An important part of this is developing past mentees into future mentors. Georgina Morello was a participant in the first pilot cycle and now mentors two other women. Speaking at the event, Georgina commented: “I was extremely fortunate and grateful to have His Excellency the Governor as my mentor. As a mentee in the WMP pilot scheme, my mentor helped me gain clarity on a number of ongoing projects, which has proved to be instrumental in my development. I was also able to sharpen my public speaking skills and the overall experience has truly served to boost my confidence and has brought about a heightened sense of self-awareness. This invaluable and enriching journey has empowered me beyond my greatest expectations. All in all my mentor has influenced the way I think, act and innovate, shaping my style and approach to all areas of my life. A mentor in the second cycle, I am genuinely thrilled to be pouring my knowledge, experience and wisdom into others. Helping my mentee develop her skill-set, achieve her peak performance and seeing her grow into her full potential both in her personal and professional life is proving to be highly rewarding and fulfilling on all levels. In summary, the Women’s Mentorship Programme experience is proving to be one of the best experiences of my life.”
Katherine Grant is a member of the Women’s Mentorship Programme Panel and is also participating in the second cycle as a mentee. At the event, Katherine emphasised the benefits that a mentor can have for women when facing challenges in the workplace: “I went into the mentee experience not really knowing what to expect, and I been amazed at the impact it has had on me so far. My mentor comes from a completely different industry and is in many ways opposite to me. He has challenged me to think differently and has given me advice and support which I have taken up and have seen business impact already. He has acted like a coach from the sidelines, has acknowledged tough positions I have been in, and encouraged me to make the changes. I feel like I have someone in my corner and it is gratefully received as it is a lonely job managing a business.”
Ian McGhie is one of the Programme’s many fantastic mentors: “This is my first experience of the Government’s Women’s Mentorship Programme, but I am already a huge fan and supporter of this ambitious and tremendously positive initiative. As a mentor, I hope to be able to use my professional experience to assist my mentee develop in the workplace, as well as in our society more generally. Having worked in the UK’s Cabinet Office, in various jobs around Whitehall and Westminster, and as a previous Commander British Forces, I have inevitably gained considerable vocational experience, which the Mentoring Programme very effectively taps into in attempting to hone the business skills of some very talented women in Gibraltar. I think it is important to strive for gender equality in the workplace where, unfortunately, there remain too many ‘glass ceilings’ that with our help need to be smashed by women in Gibraltar who undoubtedly possess masses of potential. In my opinion, the Women’s Mentorship Programme is playing a pivotal role in helping women to have the confidence to set and achieve their exacting goals in whichever employment sector they work. I commend Minister Sacramento and her team for the Women’s Mentorship Programme, and encourage everyone in Gibraltar to support the laudable aims of this enterprise.”
Minister for Equality, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, said: “I am proud of the very real and evident impact that the Women’s Mentorship Programme has, not only on its volunteers and participants, but also on Gibraltar’s working community as a whole. At the feedback and networking event, we heard from mentors about how valuable a learning experience the programme has also been for them, and I was delighted to see so many mentors from the pilot cycle returning to mentor for a second time. We also heard from past mentees who have become mentors themselves. I was also delighted to hear from mentees who are using their Women’s Mentorship Programme experience to create further opportunities outside of the Programme for other women in their workplaces.
“The Women’s Mentorship Programme is a testament to what can be achieved when people are provided with an opportunity. Through fostering individual relationships that otherwise might never happen, barriers are being broken across the gender divide and across economic sectors. The Programme actively works towards achieving Gender Equality in the workplace through changing attitudes and bringing together a variety of diverse perspectives into one incredible learning experience. It is just one of the strands of the Ministry for Equality’s strategy to reduce the Gender Pay Gap in Gibraltar, and I am delighted at the progress that the Programme is making to that end.”