The Fortune-State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership goes virtual

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! An e-commerce CEO steps down to prioritize his wife’s career, 40% of unemployed women have now been without work for six months or longer, and women business leaders connect across borders and time zones. Have a meaningful Monday.

– Mentoring, 2020-style. In early March, before, well, everything, Fortune was getting ready with the State Department and the nonprofit Vital Voices to bring our annual group of women business leaders from around the world to the U.S. for a three-week mentoring program.

These women—entrepreneurs and mid-career professionals—usually come stateside to shadow Fortune 500 executives and experience corporate America firsthand, applying those lessons to their own businesses when they return home. Of course, the group didn’t end up traveling to the United States this year. But thanks to the creativity of our partners at Vital Voices and the State Department, these women participated over the past several weeks in our first virtual mentoring program.

This year’s mentees—the 15th cohort to participate—took meetings and developed relationships across time zones and without a break from all their usual responsibilities at work and at home, with creative results. Enas Abdelaziz, a nonprofit executive based in Egypt, told her mentors at Accenture that she was having trouble managing her Gen Z employees; in response, the consulting and tech firm set up a panel of six Gen Z Accenture staffers to answer all her questions. Abdelaziz’s mentors, CMO and chief communications officer Amy Fuller and client account lead for North America Cathinka Wahlstrom, also helped counsel her over video chat through the departure of a much-appreciated employee.

Inas Hafez, an Egyptian digital marketing entrepreneur behind the agency GetSircles, was mentored by Julia Paige, the director of social impact at Uber. One of the benefits of working alongside a global company? Uber introduced Hafez to its staff in Cairo so her connection with the company can extend locally beyond the mentorship period, too.

Evelyn Namara, founder of the Ugandan fintech startup Vouch Digital, came out of her mentorship with Match Group chief strategy officer Faye Iosotaluno with advice on everything from how to decide between two payment solution integrators to how to determine the pricing of her company’s new subscription system—and tips for self-care.

Simran Sahni, the cofounder of Keeros Supersnacks in Lucknow, India, considers her time with Johnson & Johnson worldwide VP for environmental health, safety, and sustainability Paulette Frank to be a “mini-MBA.”

Of course, Zoom can only approximate the in-person mentoring experience so much. But we were so glad to be able to facilitate these kinds of relationships across borders while so many other forms of connection remain out of reach.

Read more about the program here. And if you’re interested in learning more or mentoring in the future, please get in touch!

Emma Hinchliffe
[email protected]
@_emmahinchliffe

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