Mentorships are great learning processes for everyone involved, I believe. I have happily agreed to mentor further GCL graduates since that first experience. Some mentees have answered a short set of questions to present themselves on my blog. I will post a mini-series of menteesin the coming weeks, starting today with my first GCL mentee, in her own words:
|Photograph by Andriy Maksymov|
(1) What is the main issue - or are the two or three main issues - that you are currently working on?
Currently I am busy with three projects: Creative Enterprise Ukraine (workshops and mentring for young entrepreneurs; keynote speaker for the Gender equality in culture and creative industries research), the evaluation of the UNDP/ADA project “Sustainable local development in rural areas” (two regions in Ukraine) and strategy development for Ivan Honchar Museum – centre for traditional culture in Kyiv. The main issues that are calling me since my childhood and more or less predefine everything I do are:
- Economic empowerment as a tool for building personal and institutional resilience
- Leadership and power relations in the organisational environment
- Culture and its impact on sustainable development.
(2) What makes you an excellent person to work on these issues?
Since I do interdisciplinary work, it requires multi-dimension perspective. This I have acquired through my education (both formal and informal) and extensive experiencing of various life situations (mainly through being a Girl Scout in my childhood, and then by continuous volunteering for various causes over the globe). Main skills and knowledge that help me on my professional path are:
Monitoring, evaluation, reflection skills
Mindful relationship building skills
Strategic planning expertise
Prototyping, risk-taking experience
Experience in human rights activist movement
Holistic education management skills
Education in economics and cultural studies
Studying and practising the authentic traditions of my land
(3) How do you deal with obstacles and setbacks?
Take my time to reflect (even if it needs A LOT of time)
Examine my capacity and leverage my resources (know when to say no)
Ask for help or advice; do not try to do everything on my own
Study more, practice more (routine that keeps me going even in low energy mode)
Challenge myself; take calculated risks (I like to experiment)
Accept the possibility of failure (I try to enjoy the process as much as the result)
Celebrate small victories (Rule of 5 things I am grateful for everyday)
Dream impossible - I really do not care when someone tells me that my dream is unrealistic and this is what helps me to achieve it.
(4) What is your advice to younger women who want to drive change?
- Take care of yourself
- Know your worth
- Look for like-minded people
- Be kind (always!)
- Take the responsibility over your life choices
- Speak up
- Have a plan
- Enjoy the road and have fun
(5) What is your advice to people who are in mentorships - in your experience, what makes a mentorship useful?
This is from my experience being a mentee and a mentor:
Speak of what is essential at the moment
Don’t be afraid to be weak
Learn from professional hints and tips
Ask about the failures
Ask about the inspiration
Learn from the personal journey
Learn to benefit from the honest feedback
Mentorship is like a mirror, it helps to clarify something that we cannot really see in ourselves and what we do. And it’s only up to us how much time and efforts we invest into it. The more we do, the more we get.