GWPR Masterclass: Unlocking the Full Potential of Mentorship

Published 28th Feb 2024

Insights from a GWPR Masterclass by Nina Kuerschner and Caroline York

Written by Zarina Hodiwalla

Nina Kuerscher Caroline YorkNavigating the corporate landscape with its demanding deadlines, varied expectations, and diverse interactions can present formidable challenges. As we navigate this complex terrain, the guidance of an experienced mentor becomes invaluable, providing sound advice, shared experiences, and an unbiased perspective. In the words of John Crosby, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

Our GWPR Empower Class of mentees recently had the privilege of learning from the mentorship journeys of two programme alumni: Nina Kuerschner, Senior Specialist – Corporate Brand Strategy and Reputation Measurement at BASF, and Caroline York, Director of Marketing at Gusto Collective and Web3, as well as Blockchain Committee Co-Chair at the FinTech Association of Hong Kong. Nina and Caroline shared their experiences with the GWPR Empower Programme, illustrating mentorship’s profound impact on their personal and professional development.

For Caroline, the engagement with her mentor, Nandita Lakshmanan, was an opportunity to broaden her horizons, gain fresh perspectives on challenges, and immerse herself in a different culture. The mentor-mentee relationship provided a safe space for her to articulate workplace challenges and collaboratively find solutions. Establishing a personal connection with her mentor, Rachana Panda, was crucial for Nina as it helped break down barriers and foster a stronger bond that allowed them to benefit from shared experiences.

Maximising the benefit of mentorship programmes for mentees

  • Set Clear Goals: Prioritise three specific goals and share them with your mentor to receive insights and guidance. These goals should align with your professional aspirations, as seen in Caroline’s focus on transitioning from a marketing and brand role to a more PR-driven one, and Nina’s desire to enhance career orientation and leadership skills.
  • Take Initiative and Ownership: Be proactive in scheduling meetings, set the agenda, and align your goals with your mentor’s expertise. Success in mentorship is a reflection of your effort, so make sure to prepare well before each discussion.
  • Ask Insightful Questions: The essence of the programme is to fill knowledge gaps and gain insights. Pose thoughtful questions to your mentor; if a topic lies beyond their expertise, they can guide you toward more knowledgeable resources.
  • Apply Advice to Real-World Situations: Actively implement the advice and knowledge received in real-world scenarios, such as negotiating challenging conversations, and seek feedback from your mentor to ensure continuous learning.
  • Build Authentic Connections: Cultivate genuine relationships by connecting with your mentor personally. For Nina, this meant delving into her mentor’s struggles to help foster an engaging dialogue that enriched their connection.
  • Enjoy the Process and Form Connections: Seize the opportunity to connect with fellow mentees. Learn from each other’s experiences, foster an authentic network, and embrace the mentorship journey as a process of growth and learning. In Nina’s words, every encounter makes you grow.

In conclusion, as we strive to derive maximum value from the GWPR Empower programme, it is also important that we support and hold each other up, share knowledge and foster a culture of exchange. The programme offers the power of a vast, multinational network, and how we leverage this network will help us grow and evolve as professionals and astute mentors for the next generation of women in PR.