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Fem:Go - Mentoring young women

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

The women I met (...) developed against many odds a professionally more fulfilling life.

Dear WorldTribers and Friends,

Today I would like to announce a mentorship program my colleagues and I want to offer to young women, aged 17 to 37, to help them advance in their studies or professional lives. The first round will be open from January 9th to February 20th and the talks can either be held on-line or in person, if the location of both, mentor and mentee, allows so.

WHY this program?

When I started teaching languages in Sao Paulo, I met some incredible girls and young women in regular positions, such as receptionists, secretaries and interns, and one of them was even a young mother. Subconsciously I wanted to do something for them to improve. It was not my goal to only include females, but this is what happened, maybe because of a strong identification. The women I met came all the way from receptionist to marketing leaders, to senior auditors, to executive assistants in large multinationals. So, they developed against many odds a professionally more fulfilling life.

Having a mother who was very young when she gave birth to me, I could understand what it is like, when all you need as a person is a tiny chance and a bit of space to develop, even though things are hard for whatever the reasons. Further I come from a family that migrated in large parts to Germany. Many of my friends were children of immigrants, too. Our parents and relatives worked in simple professions and in my family none had ever gone to university.

My mother never forced me to become anything. She always supported my ideas, even though sometimes she was not sure if I was doing the best thing for myself. She always hoped that I would go back to school after graduating from middle school (10th grade) and when I occasionally did so and did my a-levels she secretly hoped that one day I would study at university which I did not do right away since I was doing some internships, following the dream I had by then, which was to become a movie director. After this did not work out, I decided to actually do a masters in sinology. My path wasn’t straight, but it turned out quite satisfactorily because I could always follow my ideas. On my way I had many people giving me some orientation, but it was only in my 30's that I felt I wanted to have a mentor.

For a long time, this was a secret wish, because I had no idea how someone self-employed could find one. People in leadership roles in bigger companies were involved in internal mentorship programs to advance their careers but I had not the least intention to be employed by a company in Brazil. When I was 36, I told a friend of mine, his name was Marco, that I wanted to be mentored by him. Marco was in his early 80s by then and I had gotten to know him years before, when he became my English student. I had no idea that Marco was actually looking for mentees as well during this time and we were both lucky to find each other. He is super smart when it comes to people’s behavior and mindset changes.

Nowadays I am teaching students of Business Administration at a business school and the ratio of young women and men is about 1:5. Still not too many women are seeking to start their own business or become co-founders and have jobs in leading positions. Things have improved massively since the 1990ies, when I was a young woman, but still, there is some motivational work to do.

Since I know many great female professionals, who are experienced in overcoming hardships themselves, our Fem:Go program seeks to bring together those marvelous ladies and match them with young women seeking orientation in studies and profession.

Kristina Bodrožić-Brnić

Read more about this program on our landing page:

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