“In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. You must care. You don’t have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don’t need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with.” — Maya Angelou
At COMPASS, I think we really do care. For that reason, we are working with The Girls’ Network, an organisation that seeks to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor from a network of professional female role models. Mentors share personal and professional experiences as well as networking opportunities for their mentees in a year of monthly meetings. The aim is to crack the ‘glass ceiling’ and ensure that gender, background, and privilege do not become obstacles in girls’ futures.
I feel lucky to be part of a group at COMPASS who are about to embark on their mentoring journey with The Girls’ Network. We all have our own motivations for doing this – some want to break gender barriers, support the achievement of dreams, or offer mentees new experiences and perspectives that could create better awareness of the world outside their immediate surroundings; others have more personal reasons for joining the initiative, such as having benefited from a mentor or encountered professional restrictions from being female themselves. For me, it’s about offering girls the same encouragement to believe in themselves that I was given by the central female figures in my life. Like many women, I struggled with my self-confidence growing up. I’d like to help change the personal narratives that girls create about themselves, for the better. The Girls’ Network seems a good place for us to begin.
Although we may not know how many square miles there are in Idaho, we know what we know: what it’s like to be a professional female and what it’s like to care.
Article by Molly Lennard-Jones, manager of our therapist training programme (Europe) at COMPASS, and one of our Girls’ Network mentors