Providing mentorship for the next generation of international business leaders
In January 2019 the Swedish Chamber of Commerce will relaunch its Mentorship Programme for young professionals. The Programme offers a unique opportunity for promising talent in the UK to benefit from a twelve-month programme of individual mentoring by experienced and successful senior industry professionals from across the SCC’s network. The Mentors are leading lights in their respective industries, with decades of experience in creating innovative products and services, nurturing talent and growing successful businesses. We have some great people on board this year from a wide range of sectors.
The LINK met with Dr Aarti Anhal, appointed Programme Director, Luke Griffiths, one of the Mentors of the 2019 Programme and Nadia Sergeljuk, a previous Mentee. Aarti, founder and MD at before nine, a consultancy on a mission to redefine resilience by putting people first will act as a focal point between the SCC and the Programme participants.
The Programme is now revamped, how has it changed?
Well, the first change is that the SCC has appointed a Programme Director. I will be working with the Mentors, Mentees and SCC team throughout the Programme to ensure its success in meeting everyone’s needs and expectations.
Secondly, we’ve recognised that Mentees and Mentors alike benefit immensely from networking more widely with the entire Programme group, sharing professional experiences and learning from each other. So, in addition to the 1:1 mentoring sessions between Mentor/Mentee, the four Mentorship Meet-Ups on this year’s Programme will now be more focused on bringing the group together for expert-led workshops on current business topics e.g. intrapreneur vs entrepreneur, agile thinking in a changing world, leadership etc.
Also, for the first time, the Programme is open to applications from both Young Professionals Members as well as Non-Members.
What will the Mentees gain from participating in the Programme?
If they engage fully in the Programme, a lot! The Programme will help them to: accelerate their personal and professional development, advance towards their existing career goals and aspirations, identify new areas of professional interest and/or career paths, develop new business skills, knowledge and tools, develop their personal brand; and, finally, grow their professional network.
Acting as a Programme Director, what will you bring to the table?
In addition to bringing my experience as a Mentor on last year’s Programme, I will act as a programme facilitator ensuring that we set expectations appropriately for both Mentees and Mentors. Mentors will be donating their valuable time, so we are keen to ensure that they derive as much benefit as possible from the Programme, from expanding their existing network to, perhaps, a little bit of ‘reverse networking’ and learning from their Mentee. The onus will, of course, be on Mentees to make the most of their experience, but we will be putting in place structures and processes to support them along the way. Given my background in people performance, I will also be responsible for curating the four Mentorship Meet-Ups, ensuring that we address topics of interest, relevance and value. Finally, I hope to bring a lot of energy - it’s going to be a lot of fun for all involved.
Someone who will also bring a lot to the table is one of the coming Programme’s Mentors, Luke Griffiths, Vice President and General Manager at Klarna UK. The LINK spoke to Luke about his future role as a Mentor.
What will you contribute with?
I think I will be able to share my experiences of leading large and small teams, strategic planning and decision making, operating in a range of different industries, scaling businesses and teams, managing in a hyper-growth company and working in different cultures.
What are you looking forward to the most with the Programme?
Meeting up with an interesting and diverse group of people in different industries and hearing about their aspirations and goals in life. It’s the favourite part of my role at Klarna, the chance to speak and learn from a wide range of people in business and then share my thoughts on how we can help their business grow. I see this programme as doing the same, but for people!
What are the most important characteristics for a Mentor?
The ability to listen and then encourage. I know for sure that I don’t have all the answers, often it’s about providing confirmation or a different perspective on situations based on my experience.
What do you want to see in a Mentee?
Enthusiasm and commitment.
The Programme is getting revamped this year but it was first launched in 2014. The LINK met with Nadia, one of the previous Mentees from last year’s Programme.
Why did you decide to apply to the Mentorship Programme?
I’m originally from Denmark and I moved to the UK for my studies. Through my career I came across many cultural differences that raised a lot of questions. I felt that at this point in my career I could really benefit from advice and the challenge from someone who has been in the industry for much longer than I, and that is where the Mentorship Programme came into the picture. I needed to figure out what my objectives were and how I would go about getting there.
What were your main takeaways from the programme?
It’s a great tool to broaden your professional and personal horizons and it made me realise the benefit of having a trusted senior person you can ask questions and who can give you their take on a given professional dilemma. One of the main benefits were definitely that my Mentor could give me a lot of practical advice which would have been very hard to get elsewhere. For that, I’m forever thankful.
What did you like the most about the Programme?
I really liked the fact that the Programme provided a great structure for how the Mentor-Mentee conversations should go about. With that being said, it was a lot of freedom for the Mentor and the Mentee to agree on their own rules and objectives for the relationship. Also, we were introduced to the other Mentor-Mentee couples which was a very good way to socialise and share both thoughts and experiences. Last but not least, I made several great friends during the Programme.
Why do you think young professionals should apply for the Programme?
The Programme is one of the best ways of expanding your professional and personal network, getting priceless advice from a senior person with whom you establish a trusted relationship with and a way of getting a greater insight into the dynamics that rule the London job market.
If you want to know more about the Mentorship Programme – 2019 Edition. Please visit our website,
scc.org.uk. The application is now open and the application deadline is 30 November 2018.