The idea for the Circle of Pearl (CoP) mentoring programme originated with QPWN Founder and Leader, Christina Zini. Upon arriving in Qatar in late 2009, Christina set out to establish a mentoring ring to pair female students with seasoned professional women. She quickly discovered a broader need for a professional women’s network in Qatar, so she founded QPWN in early 2010. Once QPWN was fully operational, Christina returned to her original goal of establishing a mentoring ring and designed the CoP mentoring programme. Christina teamed up with Carolin Zeitler, the originator of the “How Women Work” conference and QPWN Core Planning Team member, to initiate the first phase of the CoP mentoring programme in late 2011.
What does the programme involve?
The CoP programme is designed to pair female university students or young women who are just entering the workforce (“mentees”) with highly-qualified and experienced professional women (“mentors”). The mentors have been carefully selected to represent different nationalities, professions, industries and backgrounds and they all possess prior experience as mentors and leaders. The purpose of these mentoring relationships is to help the mentees to develop their skills, gain further knowledge about their field of study or intended profession and expand their network. In essence, the programme aims to boost each mentee’s confidence in herself and encourage her to pursue her professional aspirations. In return, the mentor also benefits from the relationship, learning more about her mentee’s background, culture, experiences and skills. The group of mentees and mentors form the mentoring ring, or the “Circle of Pearls”.
More specifically, CoP aims to:
- Develop mentees by providing them with a mentor who will guide, empower and encourage them to grow and develop professionally and personally
- Develop the leadership and mentoring skills of more experienced females (Mentors)
- Encourage more women to pursue advanced education and careers outside of the home
- Provide mentees with professional female role models and leaders who inspire them to continue their education and development and pursue their career ambitions
- Deepen understanding of and respect for diversity by creating a cross-cultural dialogue between the mentor and mentee, and within the broader mentoring circle
- Create a women’s professional network, linking women leaders from different organizations, educational institutions and companies with one another
- Support Qatar’s efforts to enhance its local workforce with high-quality female talent
- Allow seasoned professional women to share their experience and give back to the community
- The Circle is entirely based on voluntary participation, and is not associated with any business, organization or educational institute
- The Circle does not have any monetary funding and is based solely on the donation of the individual’s time and personal resources
- All expenses incurred during the mentoring sessions or quarterly mentoring circle dinners are at the individual’s own expense