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Female mentoring: mutual aid above all

International Women's Day 2017: an opportunity to highlight Groupe BPCE's women's networks and, more particularly, the Mentoring scheme.

The Group's 31 women's networks – which have grown in number and are, above all, extremely active – provide women with a range of tools and methods to facilitate their professional advancement. Beyond the measures introduced, these networks are places where people can listen, share their experiences and, in particular, help each other.

Mentoring is the concrete proof of this. Within BPCE SA, the Essenti'Elles are already in their third year of mentoring, with a total of 73 pairs formed. The aim is to build a personal, one-on-one trusting relationship between an experienced person (mentor) and a less experienced person (mentee) to help them think about their situation, their positioning, their ambitions but also, of course, to advise, encourage and help them to decipher the company's codes and, at times, to put them in contact with other people.

Côté mentor, la confidentialité des échFor the mentor, the prerequisites include confidentiality of discussions, a considerate attitude, and availability.

*Fabienne Amblard-Larolphie, Deputy Executive Director for Development in charge of Marketing at Crédit Foncier, is a mentor to a BPCE SA employee. She explained what motivates her: to share her experience, to be supportive and useful. “Useful to women, because I’m acutely aware of their needs throughout their careers, and also useful to the company and Groupe BPCE,” she explains. “Our discussions take place in a trusting atmosphere, without any notion of our respective ranks. This mission is a fine, an extremely fine, human experience.”

For the mentee, it is important to take the time required to choose the topics on which to focus together. Among them, the most important are: looking ahead to one's professional future, improving one's image, receiving support when starting a new job, or striking a balance between one’s private and professional life.

Christel Chaton, Caisse d’Epargne Digital Communications Manager at BPCE SA, told us about her experience as a mentee. “My initial objective was threefold: to challenge myself about my professional project, to share the experience of finding a balance between my professional and private life, and to benefit from insights into the notorious ‘codes.’ I came out of it a stronger, enriched and enlightened person. I experienced these discussions as privileged moments with a constantly positive and benevolent attitude that allowed me to put everyday life into perspective and to grow in another way!  A very fine initiative on the part of the Essenti'Elles network where everyone benefits!” she explained.

Recently, the Essenti'Elles have also set up a pilot “Reverse mentoring” scheme, where experts in social networks from the Essenti'Elles share their know-how to a senior BPCE SA manager. A personalized approach that allows for immediate application, in an informal setting: it creates a “real breath of fresh air,” say the mentor-managers who strongly recommend the program, and represents a great opportunity for the mentors, all women, to enable others to benefit from their expertise.

  • Human Resources