Nolwenn Godard, Operations Director for WIF on the West coast of the United States, answered our questions on the new inter-company mentoring program developed in the States.

How did you manage to expand the inter-company program in the USA?

A year ago, Martine Liautaud and I discussed launching the inter-company program in Europe, with the goal of then expanding in the United States. In January we officially unveiled the program in Europe with PayPal, Oracle, BNP Paribas, ENGIE and l’Oréal, but we were already approaching American companies with a view to launching an American program.

We will start the program in the States in September with companies including Amazon, AXA, BNP Paribas/Bank of The West, Engie, Ernst & Young, Salesforce and the United Nations.

Is this type of mentoring program for high-potential women common in the United States?

There are indeed mentoring initiatives where women executives can be coached within their own company, but the idea of doing one-to-one mentoring across companies is relatively new. And it’s this innovative aspect of sharing experience and skills that interests all the companies we talked to – especially as some of them are already actively promoting inclusion and parity. This is the case for Salesforce, as well as all of WIF’s partners: Engie, BNPP, and Ernst & Young

Has the European program been successful? Are there any improvements you plan on applying to the American program?

The European program has so far been a real success, both for the mentee-mentor pairings and the allocated training programs. So, we’re trying to reproduce in the US exactly what we did in Europe, especially regarding the training programs led by renowned university professors and lecturers, to ensure high quality input on diversity, inclusion and mentoring. In total, we have 34 participants in the American inter-company program, 17 mentee-mentor pairs, made up of a wide variety of executive profiles, working in consulting, technology, finance, energy…

The program was launched on September 20 in New York with Martine Liautaud. SoazigDrevillon, a member of the WIF team in New York who helped me in setting up the program, and I presented the mentee-mentor pairs. We organized 3 workshops led by 3 women executives: Anna Gallotti discussed the mentor’s posture, Claire Simier explained the difference between mentor and coaching, and Adriana Bello testified about her mentee experience.

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