Empowering young women and encouraging their transformational power should be a priority for the global agenda, as it creates a virtuous circle of well-being in society. Women invest in their family’s education and health when they acquire financial autonomy, in this way, they provide new opportunities for a brighter future.
Women still face discrimination in the labor market. Entering the job market and participating more in the economy is not enough. Women should also occupy leading strategic positions. Equality is not only a matter of justice, but a smart move towards spurring growth within a company.
Mentoring is a useful step towards breaking the barriers that women are facing in their professional development. The term mentoring might seem far-fetched, but it is vital to build bridges so that talented girls and women have positive role models with inspiring skills, values and attitudes.
I find that good mentors are:
1. Encouraging and supportive
You do not have to be a prominent CEO or have an elevated position in your company to become a mentor. We all know what it means to start from scratch in the professional world. If you are a woman in a male-dominated field, -such as STEMS — it will take a lot of determination and character to succeed. Support and encourage them. Share strategies that helped you overcome obstacles. When your mentees face a particularly challenging stage, stand beside them, remind them of their value and let them know you can be a sounding board for them.
2. Active, non-judgmental listeners
Being a mentor doesn’t mean giving endless opinions and advice. It often happens that having someone who can listen while you sort out your thoughts, emotions and difficulties, can prompt solutions to your issues. Be there to listen without being judgmental.
3. Impulse to take calculated risks
Stepping out of our comfort zone and going beyond what we thought possible can make us realize that everything can be set in motion with the right attitude. Succeeding involves a lot of decision-making, as well as breaking away from patterns of indecisiveness or procrastination. Achievement involves making mistakes. Each wrong turn can be turned into a lesson. We become wiser when we take risks and accept the consequences.
4. Offer a broader perspective
When you walk the talk, you can see things from another perspective. Offering a broader viewpoint can be enlightening to others. Mentors who are willing to share their life experiences, along with the wisdom acquired through their failures and gains leave an invaluable legacy to new generations.
5. Act humble
The learning process between mentor and mentee flows in both directions. As I said before, your experience can be enlightening for younger generations, but their fresh eyes can also help you think outside the box. They can show you that not everything is written on stone and that new viable leadership styles exist.
Being a mentor empowers new generations. It is a refreshing experience that triggers a cycle of creativity and innovation.
Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest
Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.
Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.
Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.
Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.
Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.