Tag Archives: Mentorship Program

Mentorship Midway Meeting 2020

Mentorship Midway Meeting 2020

“When working with competent colleagues, be prepared that their solutions will be different than what yours would have been. If it is done with ambition and inspiration within the frameworks, that is leadership.”

So declared guest leadership presenter Thomas Vogth-Eriksen, DNV GL’s Global Director of Certifications, during AmCham’s latest Mentorship Program gathering at Hotel Bristol. For the mid-point of the 2020 program, participants met in person – and in socially distanced fashion – to absorb leadership tips from Vogth-Eriksen, AbbVie Norway Country Lead Kirsti Nyhus, and one another.

Presenters

Thomas Vogth-Eriksen – Global Director of Certifications

Kirsti Nyhus – Norway Country Lead

Focusing strongly on the importance of both career planning and communication with colleagues at varying levels, he highlighted the need for flexibility and personal challenges. As is unique to someone in Vogth-Eriksen’s position, he was able to provide insights into topics applicable to both program mentors and mentees as they navigate their careers.

The baton of career development was swiftly picked up by Nyhus, who is at the helm of a company regularly top-ranked as a Great Place to Work in Norway. 

“Of primary importance to our employees, and to us as employers, is pride in what we are doing, and where we are working,” she noted.

Contributing to that pride are AbbVie’s five elements of talent philosophy: Performance, Behaviors, Differentiation, Accountability and Transparency. Nyhus illustrated the importance and implementation of each element, demonstrating how such a strong focus on company culture and personal growth has yielded such positive results.

After both presentations, mentors and mentees discussed a range of related issues including family onboarding for overseas postings, volunteering for new and challenging tasks, and how to sort out communication challenges amongst team members. The discussions represented the very best of the AmCham Mentorship Program – a cross-industry arena in which enthusiastic professionals hone leadership skills through collaboration!

About the AmCham Mentorship Program

With its unique cross-industry orientation and global approach, the AmCham Mentorship Program offers a dynamic, internationally-minded arena for leadership development. The program, now in its fifth year, pairs emerging corporate talent with seasoned executives from AmCham Patron-level member companies. The result: a collaborative arena that fosters improvement and reflection, prepares young leaders for the challenges of the international marketplace, and forges bonds between AmCham member companies.

Mentorship Program Kickoff!

Mentorship Program Kickoff!

With social distancing measures squarely in place, 50 AmCham Mentorship Program participants gathered virtually last Friday to launch a new season of the popular Patron-level program. With clear guidance from AmCham’s Katja Dahl Murphy on how to make the most of their mentor-mentee relationships, program participants were eager to find out who they would be paired with for the next nine months.

Leading Through Transition

According to meeting guest presenter Aksel Reksten, General Manager at GE Healthcare’s 900-employee -strong subsidiary in Norway, “leadership programs, like AmCham’s Mentorship Program, are absolutely critical to developing the skills needed for an often very lonely position.”

Going on to detail his organization’s past production efficiency and global competition challenges, Reksten underscored that at GE, “every time we look for opportunities to improve upon business procedures, there is something that can be done. It is a never-ending process,” adding that “your team needs to be empowered to make changes.” These leadership lessons are especially poignant in addressing today’s unprecedented marketplace shifts.

In closing, Reksten noted especially for the program’s expat mentors that “there is no better place for return on technology investment than in Norway. It offers a highly qualified workforce, a stable, straightforward environment and solid relationships with all major international marketplaces.”

"Leadership programs, like AmCham’s Mentorship Program, are absolutely critical to developing the skills needed for an often very lonely position.”
Aksel Reksten
General Manager, GE Healthcare

Not an Option!

RiskPoint Managing Director and Partner Anette Fuglesang went on to specifically challenge program mentees during her guest presentation, stating, “To up-and-coming leaders, I say this: have the guts to take on challenging leadership roles!”

Such was the case for Fuglesang when, ten years ago, she received a call – out of the blue – from a former colleague to open a new subsidiary for RiskPoint in Norway. “My gut reaction was to say ‘no’ due to lack of skills and start-up experience.”

“But before I even opened my mouth, he said, ‘I don’t think you have the guts to do it.’ Then, my immediate reaction to his obvious challenge was ‘Just watch me!’ Today, we are 25 employees in Oslo and Bergen, writing a number of specialty lines of business. Failure was never an option!”

Given the abrupt changes for all businesses during the past several weeks, Fuglesang further noted, “Crisis reaction is all about people. Your first priority as a leader is to address employee uncertainty. Share your organization’s financials with your team – they deserve to understand your company’s position.”

The timely leadership insights openly shared by Reksten and Fuglesang resonated well with program participants, who expressed their enthusiasm for similar reflective dialogues over the coming nine months.

Pairings Announced

After the inspiring presentations, and based upon background input from all program participants, AmCham announced the cross-industry mentorship pairings for the 2020-21 program session. Including 50 representatives from 21 different organizations, it is the largest program group to date.

About the AmCham Mentorship Program

With its unique cross-industry orientation and global approach, the AmCham Mentorship Program offers a dynamic, internationally-minded arena for leadership development. The program, now in its fifth year, pairs emerging corporate talent with seasoned executives from AmCham Patron-level member companies. The result: a collaborative arena that fosters improvement and reflection, prepares young leaders for the challenges of the international marketplace, and forges bonds between AmCham member companies.

AmCham Mentorship Program Wrap-Up & Next Edition!

AmCham Mentorship Program Wrap-Up & Next Edition!

The 2019-2020 edition of the AmCham Mentorship Program had its closing meeting at Janssens Oslo headquarters. The meeting was kicked off by presentations from Janssen Nordic Commercial Director Angelique Fjeldstad and Catalysts Founder & CEO Lisa Cooper, who highlighted takeaways from their own mentoring experiences, effective strategies for building structured mentorship relationships, and reverse mentoring strategies.

Initiated in May 2019, this fourth edition of the popular AmCham program included participants from AIG, Bristol-Myers Squibb, British American Tobacco, Coca-Cola, Gambit Hill+Knowlton, Janssen, Jotun, KPMG, MSD, Philip Morris International, Pfizer, Radisson, Roche, and the US Embassy.

All participants were paired across industries, based upon their personal interests and goals, in order to facilitate leadership dialogue, share best practices, and learn from one other through the nine-month curriculum.

Presenters

1 AF

Angelique Fjeldstad – Nordic Commerical Director

Cooper

Lisa Cooper – CEO & Founder

Reflections and Strategies for Success

Janssen’s Nordic Commercial Director Angelique Fjeldstad provided tips and skills to work on for professional and personal development. Fjeldstad reflected on strategies that have helped her reach success while maintaining work-life balance, strategies that she has shared with her mentees through her participation in the AmCham program over the past two years.

 

Noting the increased demands and distractions of a working world where no one is ever truly out of reach, Fjeldstad suggested two things for the mentors and mentees to adapt into their routines. First, the need to be present during all of your workplace and personal interactions, even if that means disconnecting in order to focus on the specific task at hand or disconnecting to provide colleagues with focus and respect. Second, the need to go slow in order to go fast – the importance of taking time to reflect and slow down in order to think clearly about the task at hand and to achieve an optimal outcome.

The Role of Mentoring in the “Future of Work"

Catalysts Founder & CEO Lisa Cooper shared her experience of moving to Norway 30 years ago and developing what was once a pilot mentoring program with four mentors and four mentees promoting diversity into Catalysts, which is now one of the leading mentoring programs in Norway is a part of the Nordic Mentoring Summit and the Nordic Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring. 

Cooper then focused on reverse mentoring, a powerful tool popularized in 1999 by former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, consisting of interaction between younger and more seasoned employees to bridge the skill gap and learn from each other. Lisa suggested that success in the future of work will rely on being prepared for changing workforce and market demographics, giving examples of how reverse mentoring has worked exceptionally well and positively influenced workplace culture. 

The session ended with mentors and mentees providing feedback on the program. They shared what they had learned from their time together and the value of their mentoring relationships, in addition to highlighting how  the unique cross-industry pairings at the core of the AmCham Mentoring Program enable an exciting flow of knowledge, perspectives, and ideas between our Patron member companies.

The Road Ahead

Planning for the next edition of AmCham’s Mentorship Program 2020-2021 is underway, with many of our previous mentors returning to the program. A call for participants will commence from March, with our initial meeting in May. Mentors will select talented and aspiring colleagues from within their own companies to participate as mentees. Program participants will then be paired by AmCham across industries to facilitate the nine-month leadership dialogue.  

The Mentorship program is available to Patron-level members of AmCham Norway. For further information and interest in the program, please contact katja.dahl.murphy@amcham.no

About the AmCham Mentorship Program

With its unique cross-industry orientation and global approach, the AmCham Mentorship Program offers a dynamic, internationally-minded arena for leadership development. 

The program pairs emerging business talent with seasoned executives from Patron-level AmCham member companies. The result: a collaborative arena that fosters innovation, prepares developing and seasoned leaders for the challenges of today’s international business environment, and forges strong bonds between AmCham member companies. The Mentorship Program is available to AmCham Norway’s Patron level members.

With thirty-four mentor and mentee representatives from fifteen different companies and organizations, including AmCham– the 2019-2020 cycle is the largest participation to date.

2019-2020 AmCham Mentorship Program Halfway Meeting

2019-2020 AmCham Mentorship Program Halfway Meeting

Participants in the 2019-2020 edition of the AmCham Mentorship Program gathered at AIG’s Oslo headquarters to share program updates and discuss how they plan to continue to grow their mentor-mentee relationships in the months to come.

Navigating and Understanding the Multicultural Workplace

The session started with a presentation by Elisabeth Hellemose, Branch Manager at AIG, on the nuances of developing a multicultural workplace in the Nordics.

She began by asking participants to raise their hands if they worked in a team with members from a different cultural background than their own. The show of hands was instant and unanimous, highlighting the international nature of today’s Nordic workplace.

Drawing on her own Danish-Norwegian background, Hellemose then took participants through the international culture at AIG, noting the multitude of cultures an AIG employee may interact with on any given day and highlighting the subtle cultural differences that can be found within the Nordic region itself.

While many people who work with the Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden often assume that they have identical living and working cultures, Hellemose noted that there are important nuances between them in regard to egalitarianism, task orientation, and work independence, and as a leader it is critical to understand these differences in order to build a collaborative team where all members feel empowered and engaged. 

Hellemose concluded with the importance of working to understand your co-workers as complex individuals, rather than as members of one or several different groups, highlighting how leaders can focus on having goal-oriented conversations that build rapport with colleagues and ensure conversations remain objective.

Decision Making as an International Leader

Roche Norge General Manager Rajji Mehdwan followed with a presentation highlighting the art of making culturally aware decisions in an international company.

It is an art that Mehdwan noted was critical to Roche’s evolution over the course of the past few years. As companies like Roche have expanded globally, the need for managerial flexibility and the ability to incorporate culture differences into the decision-making process has led to a decentralization in leadership by transitioning from a global, hierarchical system to a flatter, regionally-based system.

This change also enabled to Roche develop a keen understanding of how to empower individual employees, a move that has improved performance across national and cultural borders. Mehdwan then highlighted the importance of allowing her employees to make their own decisions, especially at the country level, an approach that builds trust and respects cultural differences.

This transition, however, was not always easy. Mehdwan noted that there had been instances where she had wished her employees had consulted her first, but she knew she needed to set an example by “walking the walk and talking the talk.”

She then discussed the importance of staying true to your instincts as a leader while simultaneously as respecting the local culture and adapting your business methods to better understand that culture. Like Hellemose before her, she also noted the importance of understanding the distinct differences between the Nordic states by highlighting her own personal transition with Roche from Denmark to Norway.

“I think you have to stay true to the leader you are and your beliefs about how to help your company succeed but to adjust how you do business. I thought that because I had worked in Copenhagen it would be easy coming to Norway, but it has taken time to understand how to do business in Norway, and I am still learning,” she concluded.

The insights shared by Hellemose and Mehdwan resonated with program participants, who then eagerly shared their experiences of working in multicultural environments, experiences that included collaborating with colleagues working remotely around the globe and being a part of a team in a international office settings.

The session ended with mentors and mentees sitting down together to give feedback on the program so far and giving advice to each other on how to get the most out of the remainder of the program. The mentees discussed their experience with their mentors and underscored the value of having a mentor from a different industry than their own. Mentors and mentees agreed that the cross-industry pairings at the core of the program were eye-opening and a win-win for everyone involved, enabling an exciting flow of knowledge, perspectives, and ideas between our patron member companies.

About the AmCham Mentorship Program

With its unique cross-industry orientation and global approach, the AmCham Mentorship Program offers a dynamic, internationally-minded arena for leadership development. 

The program, entering its fourth year, pairs emerging corporate talent with seasoned executives from Patron-level AmCham member companies. The result: a collaborative arena that fosters innovation, prepares young leaders for the challenges of today’s international business environment, and forges strong bonds between AmCham member companies.

With thirty-six mentor and mentee representatives from fifteen different companies and organizations, including AmCham– the 2019-2020 cycle is the largest participation to date.

Participating AmCham Patron companies are Pfizer, Jotun, Bristol-Myers Squibb, British American Tobacco, Janssen, Roche, AIG, Philip Morris International, Coca-Cola, MSD, Gambit Hill+Knowlton, KPMG, and Radisson, with the US Embassy also participating.

2019-2020 AmCham Mentorship Program Kickoff Event

Mentorship Program Kickoff

Participants in the 2019-2020 edition of AmCham’s Mentorship Program gathered at Gambit Hill+Knowlton’s Oslo headquarters to learn how to get the most out of their mentor-mentee relationships and find out who their program partners would be for the next nine months.

The session began with participants introducing themselves, discussing what they hoped to get out of the program, and previous experiences with mentorship – a process that underscored the broad diversity of experiences, perspectives, and industries in the room.

Mentorship Program at a Glance

15

Participating organizations

36

Total Particpants

7

Industries Represented

Building Trust in Client and Mentorship Relationships

Jan Ottesen, Director of Public Affairs for Gambit, followed with a presentation highlighting the art of building trust in professional relationships.

Noting the tremendous value one can bring to the table when transitioning from being merely a service provider to a trusted advisor, Ottesen delved into how to build credibility and reliability in a relationship. He also warned participants about a common danger – focusing too much on oneself during a conversation.

It was a sentiment that resonated with his colleague, Simen Johannessen.

“When you’ve built that trust – it makes your job, and the relationships you have, much more interesting. It’s a process though – one that’s engaging, challenging, and inspiring, all at the same time.”

Ottesen then discussed the importance of listening and diving below the surface to better understand other people’s needs, thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs, and fears.

“When you’ve built that trust – it makes your job, and the relationships you have, much more interesting. It’s a process though – one that’s engaging, challenging, and inspiring, all at the same time.”

Simen Johannessen

Gambit Hill+Knowlton

The Mentee-Mentor Relationship

Following Ottesen’s presentation, Gambit’s Karen Romer and Nora Callander took the stage for a panel discussion exploring how mentors and mentees can develop the ideal mentee-mentor relationship.

Romer, Gambit’s Director of Corporate Communication, noted that in an ideal mentee-mentor relationship, the mentor learns as much as the mentee. She discussed how one mentee sharpened her knowledge of digital tools, allowing her to better understand how younger generations, often called digital natives, interact with digital content and platforms.

It was an experience that taught Romer something particularly valuable – companies must be careful to avoid burying such expertise in corporate hierarchies, and instead create platforms for young leaders to get involved and share their perspectives.

Callander took participants through her experience as a mentee in the previous cycle of AmCham’s Mentorship Program, which she described as “one of the best learning programs I’ve ever participated in.”

Paired with Roche Norway General Manager and AmCham Board Member Rajji Mehdwan, Callander described how Mehdwan helped her develop the confidence to take more initiative in her career and widen her international perspective.

“I was going to spend a few days in Barcelona for vacation, and Rajji challenged me to take a few extra days and spend some time at our office there to make connections outside of Norway. She said that I should even book meetings with key people there. Although a little scary, I did it. And it was great! These people were so friendly and eager to open up their network to me. Being challenged to do this led me to think in even bigger terms about my career opportunities in Gambit Hill+Knowlton. In fact, my next move is a year exchange to our London office, which I am really excited about.”

Callander concluded by highlighting the importance of developing a two-way mentorship relationship. One in which the mentee, with help from their mentor, has the courage to speak up and share their perspectives, and where the mentor is well prepared and genuinely interested in helping their mentee develop in their career – something also touched upon by Romer, but from the mentor perspective.

“It’s been fun to watch people I’ve mentored progress,” she noted, “I’m truly interested in seeing where they have gone, and will go, with their careers.”

“AmCham’s mentorship program is one of the best learning programs I’ve ever participated in.”

Nora Callander

Gambit Hill+Knowlton

Mentorship Pairs Revealed!

After the panel discussion, AmCham’s Katja Dahl Murphy revealed the mentorship pairs for the 2019-2020 cycle, with thirty-six mentor and mentee representatives from fifteen different companies and organizations, including AmCham, divided into eighteen pairs – the largest participation to date.

Participating AmCham Patron companies are Pfizer, Jotun, Bristol-Myers Squibb, British American Tobacco, Janssen, Roche, AIG, Philip Morris International, Coca-Cola, MSD, Gambit Hill+Knowlton, KPMG, and Radisson, with the US Embassy also participating.

The pairs then broke off to introduce themselves to their new mentor or mentee.

About the AmCham Mentorship Program

With its unique cross-industry orientation and global approach, the AmCham Mentorship Program offers a dynamic, internationally-minded arena for leadership development. 

The program, entering its fourth year, pairs emerging corporate talent with seasoned executives from Patron-level AmCham member companies. The end result: a collaborative arena that fosters innovation, prepares young leaders for the challenges of today’s international business environment, and forges strong bonds between AmCham member companies.

AmCham Mentorship Program 2016 Summary

AmCham has rounded off a successful debut year of the Mentorship Program, where mentors and mentees from eight Patron member businesses were paired across industries to exchange experiences and learn from each other.

Kristian Røkke, Akastor, and Benjamin Kuban, AmCham, at the first Mentorship Program common session.

AmCham Norway introduced the Mentorship Program in 2016 as Patron member benefit, aiming to promote inter-industry dialogue and to provide a platform where young professionals and experienced international leaders can share best practices and gain new perspectives.

The participating companies, all members of the Fortune 500 list, are McDonald’s, AIG, 3M, Citibank, Abbott, IBM, Google and MSD. All participants were therefore paired across from industries to add further substance to the learning experience.

“Direct employee feedback is a gift to any corporation. One of my reflections of this mentoring relationship was around how to harness that information and use it to make positive changes that will also benefit the bottom line,” former McDonald’s Norway Country Director, Lauren Cody said about the program.

Lasting from March 2016 until the end of the year, mentors and their mentees met over the course of eight planned sessions, discussing various themes related to leadership and insight into how to succeed in a top-level business environment.

“I really appreciated the opportunity to discuss career and personal goals with someone outside my own company. Additionally, it provided me with an objective view of various opportunities and values to consider as a whole,” Wenche Setsaas, the mentee representing Citibank said, at the final meeting for the 2016 program, hosted at Google’s offices in Oslo.

Asked to reflect on the Mentorship Program, both mentors and mentees concluded it was a highly enjoyable and educational experience- particularly as the program enabled two-way exchange of ideas.

“On a general note, I valued the opportunity to share my ideas, but also learned from my mentee and learnt about her organization,” Jan Grønbech, country manager of Google Norway, said.

“For me, the sessions were a helpful reminder of some of the frustrations, barriers, as well as motivations faced by talented people in large, complex organizations.

“It made me reflect more about what I can do as a leader within my own business to remove barriers and bring clarity about the why we are doing things in a certain way versus just talking about what we are all doing,” Cody explained when talking about her own experience as a mentor.

The final session, a plenum gathering discussing experiences and ideas for the Mentorship Program in 2017, also featured guest speaker Maalfrid Brath, Managing Director at Manpower Group Norway, who highlighted key employment points and trends.

Host of the closing session, Jan Grønbech, Google, giving a summery the 2016 Mentorship Program.

AmCham Norway is now in the planning-phase of the 2017 Mentorship Program and we are looking to increase the number of participating companies. Please contact us at Didrik.ottesen@amcham.no for more information.