When I read about the Womens mentoring Circle early this year, I was not sure what to think of the idea. I went for lunch and passed by this little information desk which was set up in our employee restaurant Stripes that day. I had a little chat with the girls behind the desk and they explained to me the intention and idea behind the Mentoring Circles. Today, I totally endorse the concept. Here’s why. As I have been with adidas for more than a decade, I´ve experienced how important it is to know the right people and to receive the right support if you want to achieve something within this company. And I thought that sharing ideas, experiences and work knowledge with other women could be not only a valued experience but also a big chance to learn from others and to grow as a person.
How everything started…
All these facts were my initial thoughts and so I signed up. I was not aware of the possibility to choose my mentor and so I didn´t sign up for a particular person. When I received my first email from my Circle mentor, I was pleasantly surprised. With one email, Stephanie had laid out what we could expect, and she gave us a topic to think about and look forward to. The first Circle meeting happened back in October. Our group of 16 women is very diverse, two of them I´ve already known and met before, the other 14 turned out to be very open and honest. Right from the beginning there was a sense of community and I felt very welcome. Guidelines for the Circle´s procedure were discussed, topics and expectations addressed and the first meeting went by too quickly. I was really looking forward to the 2nd one.
Strong women share their story
By now, we have had three Mentoring Circles. Every meeting allowed each woman to tell her “lean in” or “lean back” story and I have to admit that I am very impressed by each and every one of them. adidas has got some really strong and dedicated women within its vast pool of employees. Although they might not head up a department or occupy a higher job position, I am sure they influence our daily business more than they are aware of. Struggling between motherhood and a full-time job, meeting expectations in the office as well as at home with our families, we tend to underestimate our strength. The Circle and its members remind us how great we are and that given situations and thinking can and should be changed.
From woman to woman
I am very happy and grateful that adidas offers communication and exchange platforms like these circles. In my opinion, it is more important than ever that women get a chance to support each other or to learn from each other. We do need role models and ideally a role model of our own gender. That makes communication and learning a lot easier…you know, all this “between the lines reading…” All I can say is: I highly appreciate my mentor and every single Circle member. We´ve grown together very quickly and already went out for dinner together. Social happenings give us the opportunity to learn more about each other personally as well as professionally. I learn more about the different departments and how they operate, what drives our women here in this company and with which topics they struggle. And because of the fact that in this circle we are women only, it is much easier to understand each other´s “flaws” and to straighten out the doubts someone might have.
An opportunity to develop our soft skills
Soft skills are necessary to work together[/figcaption]These circles might not be something for every single adidas female employee, but for those of you who are open to new experiences, for those who look for an alliance beyond their teams and departments, these circles can be highly recommended. Learn from all these great women out there who work for our company and who you would otherwise (most probably) never meet. And to adidas: Thanks for giving us opportunities like these circles. You should continue to support your employees on an emotional level and not only on a professional level as, besides the products we create, we also deal with human beings full of emotions, human beings from different countries, with different backgrounds. And when we want to ensure that our professional lives become easier, we need a chance to develop our social/soft skills as much as our professional ones. The Circle is a very unconventional way to do so, try it! SEE ALSO: How moving out of my comfort zone helped me develop my career