While many companies provide internal mentoring programs for their employees, HCL aims to provide a cross-industry, cross-functional, multi-geography, external-facing mentoring initiative for women.
Studies suggest that the most effective way to address poor female representation among corporate leadership is to facilitate mentorship. HCL knew that equal representation would not just empower women but also communities, economies, and the world at large, and the Women Lead initiative was launched to drive this in 2015.
Working together in pairs, mentee and mentor meet at least six times during the 12-week program to share their insights and guidance. To ensure an effective and formal approach to mentorship, an Executive Coach designs, monitors and drives the initiative’s process.
Over the years, the initiative evolved. While the Mentorship Program was the central focus, the initiative expanded to become a sustainable platform that brought both ends of the spectrum – industry experts and aspiring women leaders – together to create a powerful network.
Known as the Circle of Influence, this is a network female executives could rely on and turn to for guidance and mentorship. It has enabled a perpetual circle of learning and offered the scope and room to undertake additional activities, associations, and practices throughout the year, even after the initiative formally concluded. This brought together mentees and mentors of all the chapters across the globe to facilitate the exchange of ideas, insights, and experiences.
Over the years, the initiative has helped several women leaders get the guidance and mentorship they needed to rise to the top of corporate leadership. However, while a lot has been achieved to date, there is still a long way to go.