Meghan, the Chief Operating Officer in the Business Information Security Office at Bank of America, had been running a talent development programme and was looking for an opportunity to mentor someone abroad. She wanted to get a broader global perspective and was excited to mentor someone starting their own business and was entering a new phase in their career.
In May 2018, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women matched Meghan with Kuda, a mentee from Zimbabwe. Kuda had recently launched her own recycling company. Early on in their relationship, the pair spent time talking through Kuda’s mission and strategy. Then they worked together to build Kuda’s social media presence, enabling her to create a community of women who could support each other.
In their mentoring relationship, Meghan and Kuda discussed time management extensively. They were able to figure out how Kuda could create time in her week to do some strategic thinking, next to the day-to-day running of her company. It didn’t take long before she was able to expand her company and hire more people. Although this meant Kuda had more to think about and had to spend more time documenting the impact of her work, Meghan was there to support her.
At the beginning of each of their mentoring sessions, Kuda would highlight what she’d been working on since the last meeting and would finish with what she wanted to cover next time the pair met. Meghan said she loved that Kuda would always bring so many great ideas to the table that only needed a little bit of tweaking to be as effective as they could be. In between the meet-ups, Kuda sent updates, while Meghan sent her useful recourses or feedback on her work.
Kuda is currently working on taking her business to the next level. She says: “The strategic thinking I did at the beginning of my mentoring year with Meghan, is now helping with my expansion.” In May 2019, the pair started their second mentoring year together.
Meghan said she has been inspired by Kuda and her ‘can do’ mentality. “She doesn’t spend days wondering whether she should be doing something, she just does it! She has been able to take her passion and use it to benefit her community and herself as well.”
Being a mentor on the Mentoring Women in Business Programme has helped Meghan bring things back to basics in her own work. Talking to Kuda about her time management or sticking to a plan, reminded Meghan that being successful early on in your work means being more successful in the long run.
Meghan hopes that the Bank of America will continue its partnership with the Foundation, as it’s the perfect opportunity to share the things that seem so straightforward to experienced business people with others that could benefit. “There were so many concepts we discussed that I take for granted having been exposed to them for so long. Mentoring allows us to reflect on our work and see that what we’re doing is important and also to share this with someone who does not have access to such ideas on a regular basis. It’s such a unique experience.”