Back at the start of the year, we launched a trial initiative in partnership with Mastercard. Entitled Mentor ME, it was a project that set out to help women from our community to gain professional mentorship with Mastercard by benefitting directly from their extensive internal programme for women.
Open to women who'd been out of the workplace for a year or more, our entrants came from all kinds of backgrounds, job roles and levels and out of the hundreds of applicants, we finally whittled it down to our chosen seven. The ladies were matched specifically with mentors at Mastercard with similar backgrounds. The initial six month term of the programme began in February, with many of the relationships still ongoing!
We catch up with one of our mentees, Nicolette, to share her experience about the scheme and the reasons why having a mentor in any area of life is so valuable.
Hopscotch: Hello Nicolette! Let's get to know you a bit first - what's your background and why did you feel Mentor ME was relevant to you?
Nicolette: Hello! I am a Cum Laude marketing graduate with over 22 years’ professional and management experience in multiple industry sectors from Education to Information Technology and across FMCG, Office Automation and Specialised Products. I'm a self-starter and super passionate about my career, with lots of experience in negotiation, sales and with suppliers and an acute attention to detail!
I relocated to Dubai in June 2016 and after a short sabbatical I wanted to get back into the job market after working in South Africa. MasterCard is an amazing organisation and very progressive and forward thinking in the way they empower and promote women in the workplace. I've been part of Hopscotch for some time and during a workshop last November, MasterCard mentioned that they planned to launch the Mentor ME programme with them. At the beginning of January 2017 Hopscotch advertised the programme on LinkedIn and Facebook and called all interested parties to submit their reason for wanting to be part of it - I didn't hesitate!
H: How did you find the selection process?
N: Motivations had to be submitted to Hopscotch telling them why you wanted to be part of the MasterCard ME programme. I made it to the final ten candidates and was then requested to attend a panel discussion with Hopscotch and MasterCard. After this meeting they awarded it to seven candidates of which I was fortunate enough to be awarded a position - I felt very privileged and excited to be part of MasterCard’s pilot project!
H: What three things did you achieve from the placement?
N: I think in summary, my three key learnings were:
1. It re-affirmed for me that as a passionate, hard-working and a dedicated professional I can and will add value to any organization I work for.
2. Better insight into the UAE job market - it was great to attend my sessions at Mastercard internally and really helped me connect to what was available locally and regionally.
3. It increased my network, both through the process itself and my placement.
H: How would you summarise your situation now?
I had a fantastic opportunity to engage with MasterCard during an interview process. From our first-time meeting, my assigned mentor and I got on well. I am still networking and applying for various career opportunities and my outlook is always positive even in tough market conditions. Perseverance is key and I believe more than ever that I have great value to add to the region and look forward to my first assignment in Dubai.
Keep a look out for future initiatives if you're a job-seeker, aiming to build a network or simply improve your skills by signing up at hopscotch.ae.