|ABOUT US||EVENTS||CIRCLE OF PEARL||WORKING IN QATAR||BECOME A MEMBER||CONTACT|
Celebrating Our Success
On June 13, we had a lovely dinner at The Square Restaurant, Intercontinental Hotel, The City, to mark the end of term and celebrate the successful conclusion of our first Circle of Pearl mentoring cycle.
Over the past six months, seven mentors and seven mentees had formed and enjoyed the Circle of Pearl mentoring ring. It started in the autumn of 2011, when we matched seven business/professional women from different fields with seven female students who study in Qatar. Then, in late November, we kicked off the first cycle with an introductory workshop and a launch event.
In hindsight, several of the mentors and mentees identified that initial workshop as one of the key ingredients for the success of the Circle of Pearl. It allowed mentors and mentees to break the ice and get to know each other a little as well as to understand their roles and responsibilities. It also provided them with some useful tools and structures to get started. So our gratitude goes to Liezel Bliegnaut who volunteered to compile and deliver said workshop for us.
“The introductory workshop was the first step of a six-month journey of learning, growth and enjoyment. We built a friendship as much as a professional mentoring relationship.” said Helen Tucker, one of the mentors.
Following the launch, mentors and mentees met face-to-face for a minimum of one hour per month to discuss the progress and the challenges of the mentee as she makes the transition from student to professional. These meetings were initiated and organized by the mentee, who was thereby learning to proactively take charge of her career. The commitment and enthusiasm of both mentors and mentees was, of course, the main key ingredient for the success of the programme and we feel blessed and privileged to have had such dynamic and enterprising women on board for our pilot project.
Indeewaree Thotawattage, one of the mentees put it this way, “Being a part of the Circle of Pearl mentoring programme has been an enriching and joyful experience. I have learned a lot more about myself and how I interact with others. I have seen firsthand the achievements of a wonderful group of ladies - the mentors - which is a definite inspiration to myself and the other mentees. But most of all, I have learned the very valuable lesson of asking for help and guidance in difficult situations - which is not a sign of weakness but a sign of confidence. After all, where would we all be if we didn't help each other out?”
After three months, we met for the half-term dinner, where first successes and progress were shared. Already the sense of excitement and gratitude became palpable, as participants shared benefits, such as building a great relationship with a woman from another generation, seeing things from different perspectives and getting insights into each others lives and everyday realities. One of the mentees went so far as to say her mentor was like the big sister and role model she had always wanted.
Over the course of the programme (six months in all) most mentors succeeded in providing a short internship or work experience to their mentees, which the latter thoroughly appreciated and benefitted from. Huda Gedawy, one of the mentees, said, “The experience was priceless. I’d encourage anyone who gets the chance to not only be a mentee but to also ensure she gets the most out of it by really participating actively. I would definitely do it again.”
So we come to the end of the first cycle and finale dinner, which rounded off the programme nicely. Says Elaine Gold, mentor, “I would like to encourage more female leaders to step up and be mentors. It’s a great learning experience for the mentor as much as for the mentee.” To which Christina Zini, founder of QPWN and originator of the Circle of Pearl added, “Mentorship is one of the most powerful and effective developmental tools. Women mentoring women is particularly important because it enables women to learn from each other and support each other's growth. The success of the Circle of Pearl's first cycle reflects the strong demand for female role models to mentor the next generation of women, guiding and supporting them in pursuit of their professional goals and thus strengthening Qatar's female workforce in alignment with Qatar's 2030 vision."