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Concise, concrete and constructive


– when a mentor programme is brief and focused. Not everyone wants the mentoring relationship to develop into a long-term friendship. Some mentees expect a purely professional or linguistic match and some mentors want to contribute specific professional help. Diana and Gitte’s mentor programme was such an example – concise, concrete and constructive.

Diana is 32. She came to Denmark from Russia in 2005. She is an information systems and economics specialist and today works in the Danish foreign ministry. In 2005, Diana started in a mentor programme with Gitte Fredborg. Gitte is 40. She comes from northern Jutland but has lived most of her life in Copenhagen. Today she is a manager within the telecommunications company TDC.

When Gitte joined the network, she had a very clear idea of what she could offer as a mentor. “The match should predominantly be a professional one, and I can also help with job applications on a more general level”, she explained. In addition, she pointed out that communication, empathy, the ability to listen, and stamina were strengths she could contribute to a mentor programme.

Time was another keyword for Gitte. Her free time was scarce and must be used constructively. She of course wanted to make time for a mentee, but pointed out that she was a buy woman. So it was vital for her that the mentee should be “committed, ambitious and, most of all, possess drive”. If there was a mentee like that out there, she would be more than ready to rise to the challenge.

And rise to the challenge she did! For Diana, who was matched with Gitte, her mentor programme was short but very successful. After five months of regular meetings between the two, Diana found a job. Diana is in no doubt as to how much the mentor programme contributed to the result: “I got a good job in Danish after less than 18 months in Denmark. And that’s because I met someone who wanted to help me and give me what I most needed – self-confidence.”

The linguistic sparring was a key factor for Diana. Through their meetings, Diana was able to train her Danish skills with Gitte. This gave her the confidence to take things to the next level. Diana explains: “We met several times. She could really understand my Danish! And that meant more to me than her network. Anyone who’s just beginning to learn Danish can understand how much it means when a Dane shows you that they can communicate with you.”

When Diana got her job at the foreign ministry she said “thank you and goodbye.”

She had been helped the few steps needed to continue on her way. She had received the linguistic and professional sparring she had been looking for in a mentoring programme. And Gitte had been there for her. She had listened, understood and patiently persevered – and she had been exactly the mentor she had offered to be.

Today, Gitte and Diana continue on their separate ways. Their paths crossed for a brief moment in time – they used that time used efficiently – and then they parted. Concise, concrete and constructive.


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Background, case stories and more in KVINFO's
Theme: Mentoring

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