What is Protégé?
Protégé is a leading mentoring programme focused on the professional development of women in Singapore, Australia, Europe and Malaysia.
Working across all industry sectors, Protégé offers professional women the opportunity to be mentored by some of the country's top executives. Through shared knowledge, experience and invaluable connections we provide women critical support in the early stages of her career.
Our purpose is to empower women to live the life THEY choose.
In addition to our public mentoring program, Protégé, we license organisations to run their own internal structured mentoring program, modeled on the Protégé approach. We currently support programs for CFA Society Sydney, Financial Women's Association (FWA), Girls in Tech Singapore (GITSG), Women in Mining and Resources (WIMAR) and a number of in-house programs for large corporations, including Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore and Dubai and OCBC Bank.
Protégé's vision is to build a pipeline of women, from early career through to senior executive level, who are ready to take on more senior leadership roles and eventually board positions.
Protégé is about supporting and encouraging women to live the life they choose.
The Protégé mission is to support one woman at a time to help her develop in areas that focus on her life and career aspirations, and at the same time to connect her to the greater professional community around her and the role models within it. Further, we encourage mentees to 'pay-it-forward' to other less fortunate women in their community and assist them to become financially empowered and self-sufficient.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is a longer-term personal development relationship where a more experienced or more knowledgeable person, the mentor, helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person, the mentee. The mentor has greater relevant knowledge, experience, or wisdom than the mentee, but may or may not be an expert in the same professional area. The power difference between them is one of wisdom rather than position. It is a relationship based on learning, dialogue, feedback and challenge, and typically focuses on professional, career and/or life issues.
In the technology field, there are now many cases of "reverse" mentoring, where the young IT-savvy mentor guides and shares relevant knowledge with a more senior, less IT-savvy mentee.
Being a Mentor
Mentors are typically senior executives who get satisfaction from "giving back" and who are also open to learning themselves. He or she uses their own experiences, including successes and failures, to help the mentee develop and create a focused and achievable career development plan. Mentors advise and motivate, make introductions, give recommendations about people and resources, share relevant life stories and give feedback for the mentee to consider.
Being a Mentee
Mentees are generally younger or more junior than their mentors. They have an open mind to learning from others and want to proactively advance their careers. They are responsible for articulating what it is they want from the mentoring and then for taking ownership of the relationship and driving it to achieve its objectives. Mentees are willing to share their mistakes and failures in order to learn. They are honest with themselves and are open to receiving feedback, and keen to learn and grow in ways that are not clearly defined.
Why Mentoring Matters?
Mentoring has been cited in a number of studies as the Number One intervention for supporting female leaders in the workplace. In a recent LinkedIn survey of 1,000 women, 82 percent said that having a mentor was important (but 19 percent had never had a mentor).
The number of women in leadership positions and on boards has been well documented and researched over the last few years by McKinsey, Mercer, NUS, BoardAgender and others. The reports have highlighted the following:
Women are under-represented at all levels
- "If more women are to reach senior positions, they have to be present in the pipeline that feeds those positions."
- "... but the higher up the management hierarchy, the less visible they become ..."
- "They have decided to leave or because they have become stuck at a more junior level."
- "Of the 677 SGX-listed companies studied, 7.9% of the total number of board directors were women."
- "Women continued to be even more underrepresented in leadership positions on the board. 4.6% of the CEOs and just 3.4% of the Chairmen were women."
- "Women continued to occupy fewer directorships per person than men did, with 17.2% of the men holding more than one board position, and just 6.3% of the women."
In its 2013 Women Matter report, McKinsey highlights some of the measures that organisations can take to help women's development. They include:
- "Networking events/programs
- Leadership skill-building programs
- External coaching programs
- Mentoring programs with internal mentors
- Programs to increase proportion of potential women leaders."
Benefits of Mentoring
A recent survey by the non-profit organisation Catalyst tracked the professional success of 4,000 MBA alumni from prestigious business schools worldwide over the course of two years. Catalyst found that:
- "Women with a mentor increased their odds of being promoted to mid-manager or above by 56% over women without a mentor while 65% of women in mentoring relationships earned promotions overall
- Women who had active mentors achieved 27% higher salary growth than women without a mentor."
Over a five-year period, Sun Microsystems tracked the success of both mentors and mentees on its internal women's programme and discovered that:
- Both mentees and mentors were 20% more likely to receive a pay increase
- 25% of mentees and 28% of mentors did in fact receive a raise compared to 5% of managers who were not mentors
- Mentors were six times more likely to be promoted to a higher-level role
- Those who receive mentoring were promoted five times more than those who were not mentored.