We often think about mentorship as a unidirectional, top-down relationship where the mentor talks and teaches, while the mentee listens and takes notes. This hasn’t been the case for Sofia Yang, MSc research alumni in Communication Science and now a freelance consultant in Indonesia – and her experienced mentor Olga Martens-Stuurman, director of the Work of Future, Support Training, Video and Content at HP.
“We have had a great connection since the introduction, and we immediately aligned on the goals we wanted to achieve”Sofia Yang
As said, the relationship has been anything but unidirectional. It was not the first time Olga was mentoring someone, but it was indeed the first time she was doing it outside the scope of her own organization, HP.
“It’s nice to see how I get new ideas, new inspirations, and I receive a lot back from the mentorship”Olga Martens-Stuurman
It was also the first mentorship program for Sofia. She came very well prepared for all the meetings and created great documentation to check progress and never go off track. The mentorship revolved around personal branding and how to get to a managerial position.
But it was a lot more than that. They also talked about how to make a career plan, expand her network, and develop the essential skills needed to become a good manager.
“Finally, we touched upon how to navigate the international working environment, a very important topic these days – followed by how to position yourself in the market”, Sofia told us.
Both the mentor and the mentee found the mentorship program super helpful.
“The program was very, very, very helpful – I’m so happy with what we talked about, and how we structured the program – it helped me learn a lot”Sofia
Also, Olga greatly benefitted from the program. She told us how she revisited many things she learned a while ago – and got new ideas from Sofia.
During the mentorship, Sofia worked at Signify as a B2C Marketing Communication intern. The mentorship was then helpful to assist Sofia in her internship, backing practical learning with Olga’s advice. Her examples stuck better, and Sofia could see her advice turning into practice.
The relationship they developed was based on mutual interest – and it’s great to see how energizing it was for both parties. “It also feels good to explain to other people the things that I maybe have learned the hard way. In this mentorship, I could help Sofia go through a bit easier path, instead of always having to learn it the hard way!”.
As usual, we asked what has been their most important learning over the last 4 months and their answers definitely didn’t disappoint us.
For Olga, it’s all about making a difference in an area you really like: find your superpower – what you’re really good at – and make a difference in that area.
“Look out for your passion, and don’t lose focus: do something that you really enjoy – it’s not about your income, job position, or title!”Olga
For Sofia, the most crucial learning she had was personal branding. “A very new concept, a great topic that I’ve learned about during the mentorship. Together with planning better my career, it helped me reflect on my strengths and better lay down the path for my future”.
Even if Sofia is now back in Indonesia while Olga is working in the Netherlands – what we can definitely tell from their words is that they want to keep this relationship alive, regardless of the distance. They were even able to meet in person during the mentorship – and share a good coffee together.
We are very curious about what is going to await Sofia and Olga in the future. We look forward to the next achievements they are going to celebrate together – and we hope they’ll be able to share a second cup of coffee soon…maybe at our office! ☕