Pacesetters Meet Their Mentors

The Pacesetter Program features three main components: (1) career-oriented training sessions, (2) group career coaching, and (3) one-on-one mentoring. On September 12th, Sumitomo hosted the Pacesetters as they were introduced to their mentors – senior women in finance that have graciously agreed to give back and guide the women through this journey.

Mentors are a critical aspect to anyone’s career, but remain even more important for women in the financial services industry. Often times these mentors are ‘informal’ and the relationships are developed naturally through the course of one’s work. Other times, there is a more ‘formal’ mentorship program that is put in place by firms/groups to help guide their employees/members. For the Pacesetter Program this year, the goal was to mimic more of the former. There are no set guidelines, outside of meeting at least once/month, and it is up to the pair to discuss what will work best for them. Mentors and mentees were paired not just on their current role, but also based on personalities and common experiences that aim to aid in creating a lasting bond.

The kick-off session last month focused on advice learned through years of being a mentor/mentee and what, in my opinion, has separated out the great experiences from the awkward. Some things mentioned:

  • Set expectations from the outset – agree on what each party is looking to get out of the relationship and how best to communicate
  • Be understanding of each other’s time
  • Mentee should be proactive in scheduling time to catch-up
  • Follow-up – if advice is asked, or a certain situation discussed, make sure to circle back and let them know what the outcome was
  • Get to know each other – there has to be a genuine personal connection for the most successful mentorship relationships

Assigned relationships, no matter how well matched, can be awkward at the beginning. As such, the rest of the session focused on an ice breaker called the M&M game and then one-on-one time with the mentors/mentees who were able to attend. Each participant is asked to choose an M&M (but not eat it!). Once everyone has an M&M, the questions you must answer for group are revealed:

  • Orange – One of my favorite books/movies is…
  • Green – A food I don’t like is…
  • Brown – Something I did this week is…
  • Red – I’m interested in…
  • Yellow – Something I’d like to try is…
  • Blue – I’m pretty good at…

Interestingly enough, the most chosen color was green…and I think it’s safe to say, both Pacesetters and mentors have a lot of foods that they do not like! Additionally, the only two people who chose yellow want to try skydiving. It’s a great way to lighten the mood and get the room energized for what is to come. The Pacesetters and their mentors will be connecting throughout the end of the program in May, but we’re hopeful these relationships will continue long beyond that.

Finally, a special thank you to all the wonderful mentors who have agreed to participate this year – the Pacesetters will surely benefit from all that you have to give.

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