What we learned from the WoW programme
The WoW programme was planned in late 2015, was rolled out throughout 2016 and was then evaluated in early 2017. These were our learnings:
Confidence is a magic missing ingredient. The WoW programme showed that the absence of confidence can be tackled with a relatively small investment in targeted development initiatives that combine mentoring, sponsorship, career planning and leadership development.
Mid-career interventions are critical. The top factor holding mentees back is “focus/drive commitment” to strategic career decisions, according to our mentors. Multiple competing priorities can lead to a lack of career focus among this cohort. For businesses concerned with strengthening the female leadership pipeline, this is where they need to concentrate.
Senior experienced women are a powerful resource. By supporting younger women in career advancement, senior women help address several key barriers, including the absence of successful female role models. All our mentors, with the exception of one who does not have time next year, said they would be prepared to serve again as mentors.
Mentors and sponsors are a winning combination. Together they can help women (and men) who aspire to leadership roles. Even more powerful is the dynamic of having an external mentor and internal sponsor.
Mentors say younger women face significant challenges. Some even went so far as to say that younger women are facing much greater challenges in a cultural context than they did at that point in their career.
We were shocked by how little has changed around corporate culture. Our mentors told us this repeatedly.
Female only leadership programmes matter. Following the WoW programme, the majority (85% mentors and 73% sponsors) were convinced of the need for female-only leadership programmes.
Find out what mentees and mentors said about the WoW programme
Learn about the WoW programme