Mentoring Program


The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) develops the professional, leadership and business potential of women on all levels through advocacy, mentoring, networking, skill building and economic empowerment programs and projects around the world.


(Updated 12-18-2015)

Some years ago, an excited mentee wrote the following report. It clearly shows the main factor of a successful mentoring time: the importance of goals. I quite often quote her: I was forced to focus!

That’s what makes mentoring a success: Knowing what is important to me, where do I want to go.

(Marianne Plattner, chair taskforce mentoring BPWI)

The BPW Mentoring Programme - Viewpoint of a Mentee


mentoring bsDear Ladies from BPW Europe

As a thirty-something woman, already well past my University days, but still without a good idea about what to do in my professional life, I had felt for a while that I needed to obtain a more strategic approach concerning my professional development. However, I was at a loss how to do that.

Through BPW Basel early in 2008, I heard of the BPW Mentoring Program. I had no idea about mentoring, but thought that this could be the starting point to get a more strategic view about my career. Marianne Plattner, Responsible for the BPW Mentoring Program in Europe, met me to explain how mentoring works. She had a major challenge for me right away! She told me that I needed a well-defined goal in order to participate in the BPW Mentoring Program! Fact was – I had no goal! I spent several evenings thinking about what I wanted in life until I came up with a specific professional goal which would be the core part of my mentoring program. This moment was my first one ever where I tried to look at the greater picture of where I wanted to head to in life by 2034, which will likely be the year of my retirement … I was forced to focus! Focussing on the big picture of my life was the first great experience about mentoring!

Based on my specific goal and on specifications what my mentor should be, Marianne put me into touch with my Mentor, Jacqueline Erb. That was in late summer 2008. The match was perfect: We are both lawyers working in the energy sector, so exotic beings between engineers and computer specialists, never mind being women in a male-dominated work place. Certain subjects can be easily discussed that way. We meet once a month and discuss my progression towards my goal within the mentoring program which lasts one year. My defined goal is to find out whether I want to move into management in the long run. As I am certain that I want to move into management now, I am much more focused in my current job. I find that this already shows when I interact with my work colleagues and with my managers. So that is my second great experience about mentoring – you get more credible towards others!

As an example of being more credible: I had applied at my Company’s Board for a course about management skills. My request got rejected by the Company Board, saying that the course was not relevant for my position as a legal counsel. I was disappointed. Had I not had the support of Jacqueline, I would have let the matter go and forgotten about it. This time, however, she talked my through possibilities to get my course after all, she encouraged me not to let go of it. We discussed the reasons why the course could benefit my company. One day, arrived the occasion to tell the CEO himself why the course was necessary for me – and for the company. My speech was well-rehearsed, concise, to the point, with examples to illustrate my point … the manager sat there after I held it and looked at me as if he saw me for the very first time. The feeling after that speech was priceless. It was my professional highlight for late 2008 … and I am starting that management course this March!

Thank you, Marianne. Thank you, Jacqueline!

So, ladies, please take my humble opinion to heart: Forget the must-have handbag of the moment, or those cute shoes or where you want to go on your next vacation ... Get yourself a mentor instead and learn from her or him. Focus on what you want for yourself in the long run. Stand up for what you care for. Speak up. Those are the real must-haves for any woman who wants to further her career in an intelligent and long-term manner. Those must-haves, face it, ladies, have no season - as opposed to any handbag ...!

Spring 2009

Cécile Mayor, Club BPW Basel, Switzerland


Task force mentoring | Why mentoring for BPW | Forms for Mentoring | Ground rules | Guidelines | Download Flyer | FAQ | Downloads


The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) develops the professional, leadership and business potential of women on all levels through advocacy, mentoring, networking, skill building and economic empowerment programs and projects around the world.

Working Definition of Mentoring

Mentoring is a relationship which is established with someone who is an expert in their field. The mentor is usually older, but not necessarily in age, and is more experienced than the person being mentored. The mentor offers their knowledge and wisdom to the mentee. The mentee looks to the mentor for guidance, encouragement and advice.

What does mentoring really mean?

Mentoring is a learning process that involves a skilled or experienced person (the mentor) with a less experienced, less skilled person (the protégée). The goal is to provide opportunities for the protégée to continually develop her skills and knowledge, thereby enhancing her success. Mentoring is based on the sharing of experiences. The protégée wants to learn from the experiences of the mentor. A mentor is not paid for her work.


  • Professional knowledge (expertise)
  • functional knowledge (leadership)
  • General experience in business and profession

This knowledge is shaped through experience and expressed in the emotional intelligence of the mentor.
Mentoring is a combination of many things that can’t be learned only in theory.


The International Mentoring Task Force

Goals of the Task Force

Mentoring is known by all clubs and federations as a means of development of potential of women on all levels.The existing projects of Mentoring are made available for the information of BPW clubs and members.
Chair Task Force Head: Marianne Plattner.

Titilola-tytyadisa marianne-plattner Carla Laura
Africa :
Adisa Titilola
Europe :
Plattner Marianne
Europe :
Carla Laura Petruzzelli



Why mentoring for BPW


Mentoring is one of the tools to realise the aims and objectives of BPW. Our members are from all professions, they have an immense source of knowledge and experience that can be shared. Mentoring between members is a superb means to empower women and to strengthen club life.
BPW sees mentoring as a learning process between two individuals. It offers support to develop a program for mentoring between two people: a mentor and a mentee (called tandem mentoring: two people riding a bike to reach together a goal they agreed on).


Our aim

Every club takes part in the Mentoring Program
Every club or every federation has a person in charge of the Mentoring Program


Why mentoring is important for the clubs

Your members learn in a focused way to fill specific gaps in their professional development
Your club will be more attractive to young women who can profit from the mentoring program
The growth of clubs contributes to society by developing the professional and leadership potential of women.


Forms of mentoring


Formal mentoring

Formal mentoring follows a program that provides a framework to make mentoring relationship successful. This framework includes:

  • the matching procedure (search of a mentor for the protégée)
  • an agreement between mentor and protégée about the goals to reach
  • a limited time target and an evaluation.

Informal mentoring

Informal mentoring starts usually at an early stage in people’s careers. You find a person of whom you admire his or her skills or experience, who has reached a higher level in professional life or who possesses outstanding qualities you admire. You ask this person to tell you how she does things, you ask for advice or even ask her if you could accompany her in her work. Sometimes you only observe and talk with her about your own work. This form has no rules or time limits. It just “happens” and then ends unobserved.


Ground rules


Mentor and mentee respect privacy and keep all information confidential.
Mentor and mentee are equally responsible for the success of mentoring.
Professional secrets:
Both mentor and mentee keep all professional information confidential.
Date security:
The dates are only for the use of mentoring and the person in charge of the mentoring program.
Mentor and mentee evaluate their common work in view of the agreed on aims and the quality of contacts.
The person in charge of the mentoring program evaluates regularly the success of the mentoring.
If a disagreement arises, and you are unable to resolve it, then the person responsible for the program must be informed.



Guidelines Mentoring


Formal Mentoring

Note. Not all the clubs are organized in the same way. There may be a board of directors or a club committee, depending on the national structure of BPW.



Whoever instigates the mentoring is responsible for implementing the programme and seeing it through to the end. This may be a local club, several clubs together or a whole federation. The board (of directors) of the club provides the structure/intent of the programme i.e. rules to show how the programme should be carried out.

The direct contact for mentees/protégées and mentors will be a person appointed by the club. This person in charge of mentoring (or a supporting team) will match people into a mentoring tandem and evaluate the results of the mentoring programme. She will have the support of the board (or club committee) of either local or national clubs.



There are different possibilities for launching, operating and controlling a programme. It normally depends on the club resources.


Setting up a programme takes time. It is a good idea to build up a team of BPW members to set up a programme. The programme has to be approved by the board and the rules have to be communicated to the club. Another point to decide will be who is admitted to the programme: members only or potential members who apply for a testing trial.

Mentoring is volunteer-based. There are no dues to be paid. The clubs can choose to charge for their help but the mentoring programme itself is free.


Programme outline (step by step to a mentoring programme):

  • Collate all the necessary data / information:
    List of available mentors drawn mostly from their own or a neighbouring club
    Registration / admission of mentee (Registration form)
    Registration of mentor (Registration form)
    Check whether any legal formalities need to be addressed
  • Search of a qualified mentor (according to the needs of the mentee)
  • Matching process (Tandem of mentor and mentee)
  • Mentoring agreement between mentor and mentee (mentoring agreement)
  • How to deal with complaints
  • Evaluation (Evaluation form)
  • Publicity to inform members and attract new members


  • workshops for mentees and panels and exchange of experiences



Download Flyer (click here to download)

mentoring flyer


Frequently asked questions / objection:


We don’t have enough persons on the board to take care of a mentoring program.
It is not necessary that a member of the board takes care of the program. If you have members who are teachers at a professional school or who take care of apprentices or trainees in an enterprise, they will be qualified to take care of a mentoring program.

We don’t have time to draft a mentoring program.
We can give you forms and information for a mentoring program and give you instructions to establish mentoring at your club! The most important forms already exist! (Application, Mentoring Agreement, Evaluation).

Are there different possibilities to offer mentoring in clubs?
There are many different ways of offering mentoring. In due time we shall offer you more information about how mentoring is done in different clubs. (Matching programs, Finding a tandem partner at special club evenings or group mentoring etc.)

We are making a list of all clubs that offer a mentoring program and we hope to be able to offer you contact addresses and more information of different programs and ways to take up a mentoring program.
For more information to get or to bring:



01 Short introduction to Mentoring by BPW International
02 Rules-guidelines BPW International
03 Registrations Mentee BPW International
04 Registration mentor BPW International
05 Mentoring Agreement BPW International
06 Evaluation Form Mentoring BPW International