In August 2017, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, announced the creation of a one-year mentorship programme for a young woman aged between 18 and 24 year of age, to support with their career and personal aspirations.
This announcement inspired us to create more opportunities for young women to have access to a mentor, who could support their personal and professional growth. We also believed that we could contribute to the wider challenges we face, to increase the gender balance within management and leadership roles within organisations, by creating a women’s leadership network. Our aim was to build a community of women leaders who would support other women to build their confidence and belief in their own abilities to aspire to/develop within, leadership roles.
We launched IWiL (Inspiring Women in Leadership) Mentoring Programme in 2018. We were delighted to announce 20 inspiring mentors and pair them with mentees, who had applied to join the programme. We had a range of applications from young people still at school, young people starting their career and a small number of more experienced women, who applied to become our first ever mentees.
We held a launch event in November 2018, and we hosted 4 personal and professional development workshops throughout 2018/2019. We ended with a celebration event, where some of our mentors and mentees shared their stories about what they gained from being part of the IWiL community. There was so much enthusiasm and energy for a 2nd year, with subtle adaptations taken from the feedback from our mentors, that we decided we would continue the network.
On March 2021 we launched our 2nd year and are delighted to welcome 37 mentors, some of whom are returning and some new leaders who are joining us for the first time. We are honoured that this collective group of women are willing to shine a light on other women and bring more compassion and humanity to our leadership.
Further to the recent launch of TIGERS’ ‘Inspiring Women in Leadership’ (IWiL) Mentoring programme, we have taken the decision to create a male mentorship programme.
Our aim is to provide aspiring leaders, or those within new leadership roles, with a 1-year mentorship that will focus on compassionate, courageous and transformational leadership. We aim to dispel the outdated male dominant management style and encourage more men to lead with humanity.
As our mentorship initiatives develop, we propose to integrate both of our initiatives, with men mentoring women and vice versa. We are aiming to stay mindful of the issues faced by men and women, in leadership roles and society overall, whilst supporting a progressive society that no longer sees gender, only the person. By breaking down further barriers we continue to progress towards our ‘why’ of ‘supporting people to meet their potential’.