Jennifer, from the USA, joined the Mentoring Women in Business Programme through her employer Bank of America. She was paired with Modupe, from Nigeria, who was a mentee on the programme from March 2019 to March 2020. They told us about the positive impact the programme had on their personal and professional lives.
“A relationship that will live with me for the rest of my life”. That’s Jennifer Cameron, Senior Vice President at Bank of America, and Mentor in the Mentoring Women in Business Programme describing her year-long relationship with mentee Modupe Adebayo, which concluded in March this year.
Using her experience as a Certified Coach and a member of the Women’s Lead Organisation at Bank of America, Jennifer has spent eight years mentoring on the programme. It still astounds her how powerful mentoring can be as a transformative experience for both mentor and mentee.
Modupe, who runs an interior design business in Lagos, Nigeria, entered the Mentoring Programme to build skills in confidence, communication and Business Strategy. Modupe sought an experienced mentor who would provide her with the tools to develop. She hoped to get an active listener who she could bounce ideas off, a thought partner.
Having learnt several years ago about a Coaching Programme from a fellow Mentor from the Mentoring Women in Business Programme, Jennifer became a Certified Coach in 2017. For Jennifer, a mentoring relationship is about “self-discovery, about teaching people what they already know.” She entered the relationship prepared to reflect on the ideas, issues and experiences her mentee would offer and help find ways to draw out solutions, support her to develop her skills and encourage her growth.
As soon as they were matched in March 2019, Modupe and Jennifer hit it off. Jennifer was immediately bowled over by Modupe’s keenness to get started. Modupe was completely ready to begin and drove the relationship, scheduling meetings far in advance, setting agendas for them and soon a rhythm of meeting weekly was established. For Jennifer mentoring is truly something where “you reap what you sow” and saw that in action as she responded to Modupe’s dedication with her own commitment and reliability.
Modupe’s creative energy meant that she had a lot of ideas and lines of interest. Much of their early relationship was about discovering techniques to narrow her focus. Jennifer was able to evaluate Modupe’s approaches and reflect back suggestions on how she might become more streamlined. This external perspective and dialogue was essential for Modupe to make progress.
Key to this streamlining of ideas was the GRPI model; a straightforward model designed to facilitate the capturing of Goals, Roles, Processes and Inter-personal Connections. The Model helped Modupe reflect on what her goal was, what she was and was not an expert in. This helped articulate the way she wanted to progress in her business and develop a clear pathway to goal achievement.
Accessing proven centring points such as the GRPI Model meant that Modupe could work more efficiently, and be accountable to the goals she set. This approach ensured that Modupe developed skills in her communication with vendours, and provided her with adjustable and revisable measures of success.
In the end, Modupe was more confident in dealing with conflicting moments, she is more confident in her communication and is able to articulate her goals clearly.
Jennifer reflected that her time with Modupe was one of the most successful mentoring relationships she has had. Throughout the experience she was motivated by Modupe’s dedication and constant drive for success. Jennifer was struck by Modupe’s listening skills and their communication flourished out of this mutual respect and shared goal.
Jennifer felt that a shared honesty and directness allowed important conversations of reflection and development to happen without difficulty. Constant feedback allowed the relationship to grow organically over time.
Mentoring has the ability to be powerful for both actors in the relationship; Jennifer said: “Modupe encouraged me to be more focused on what I want to achieve in my own career… her persistence was something I needed to emulate.” Jennifer credits Modupe with giving her the confidence to work towards achieving a new role at Bank of America.
Since the end of their time on the programme in March, Modupe and Jennifer have remained in close contact. Jennifer will participate in our next intake of Mentoring. On her experiences with Jennifer, Modupe concluded: “I have a clear vision of the business, management skill have really improved and I have been able to set realistic goals… Being on this platform has been one of the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
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