News & views
Cherie Blair Foundation partners with RGH Global to support women’s business development through mentoringDate Posted: 19 July, 2022
Our new partner RGH Global will support 14 women entrepreneurs through our Mentoring Women in Business programme, bringing fantastic personal and professional development, business growth and success.
We’re excited to welcome a new cohort of mentors and mentees into our gold-accredited, year-long Mentoring Women in Business programme. We’re also welcoming a new partner, recruitment consultancy RGH Global! Together, we’re supporting 14 women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries to take part in the programme—10 as mentees and four as mentors—alongside six more mentors from RGH Global’s own team.
Their journeys together as mentee-mentor pairs will bring fantastic personal and professional development, supporting the growth and success of their businesses, with the partnership ultimately helping to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship.
In this five-minute Q and A, the Foundation’s Senior Programme Manager Efe Olokpa discusses this exciting initiative with RGH Global Co-Founder and CEO Justin Madgwick, and Head of Public Sector and Senior Partner Philippa de Marris…
Efe: You’re new partners for us, and your company has some really exciting stories behind it! Please give us a quick overview of what RGH Global is all about…
Justin: Having launched in a pandemic it was critical that we established the right values to ensure that our people, our clients and our stakeholders received a high-quality service. We have built RGH on four pillars – sharing the value, collaborating with others, operating ethically, and having freedom to work without boundaries.
Philippa: Following on from that last pillar – what I really love about RGH is the ability to work from anywhere so I can balance work and home commitments whilst continuing to deliver. RGH empowers and supports me to work at a time and place that is convenient for my life.
Creating a culture of equality isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing. It empowers us to innovate, build deeper connections with our clients and candidates, and ultimately become a better company.
Efe: You have a fantastic commitment to the eradication of gender bias and to women’s empowerment all year round – something that’s really key for us at the moment as we focus our research and advocacy on gender stereotypes. What was it that first interested you in working with us?
Justin: Philippa highlighted the Foundation’s 2021 summit to me and was very enthusiastic about how RGH could contribute to the Foundation and align many years of our own entrepreneurial experience into a purposeful enterprise whilst also drawing upon the invaluable research around gender stereotypes. The entrepreneurial ethos of our business model ensures that all genders have equal opportunity and access to work.
Philippa: Having attended the summit, I found very strong links between the Foundation and RGH’s core values and knew our ethical ways of working would blend well together beyond an initial programme of mentorships. Due to our many partnerships within RGH we are uniquely placed to work with many outreach programmes, such as ending digital poverty and return to work programmes.
Efe: Our partnership is built on a shared understanding of the transformative power mentoring holds for mentees and mentors alike. Why do you find mentoring to be so important in a person’s professional journey?
Justin: Having been both a mentor and mentee I know the value that the right mentor can bring to a person’s professional development. Being able to share insights and solve challenges is incredibly rewarding as a mentor, and as a mentee having that guide helps fast-track career progression.
Philippa: Having worked hard whilst raising a family and continuing my professional development, I had to learn from my own mistakes – a mentor would have been a fantastic support to have accelerated my career journey and empowered me to develop my entrepreneurial skills.
Efe: And so why do you think being mentors will be important for your staff’s professional development?
Justin: The key skills of any successful mentor are great communication, strong emotional intelligence and empathy, as well as excellent active listening. These are the types of qualities that I hope all my team can demonstrate and hone over the course of the mentorship. They are also important leadership characteristics, something else I would want my staff to develop during the programme.
Philippa: Absolutely, having previously mentored people myself I am hoping I can learn from this experience as much as I can add value in the context of being a single parent balancing work, study and home life. All our mentors come from such diverse backgrounds that we feel we can add real value to all the mentees.
The key skills of any successful mentor are great communication, strong emotional intelligence and empathy, as well as excellent active listening. These are the types of qualities that I hope all my team can demonstrate and hone over the course of the mentorship.
Efe: Our Mentoring partners traditionally would contribute mentors from their own workforces. Then last year we launched the Scholarship Fund so partners and individuals can also support women entrepreneurs from our programmes to be mentors as a ‘next step’ in their entrepreneurial journey. Why is it important to you to support women entrepreneurs not only as mentees but also as mentors?
Justin: In my opinion the experience of being a mentor or a mentee is something that anyone with the right skills, passion and commitment should have the opportunity to participate in. It helps foster the confidence to set ambitious goals and with the right support provide the conviction to deliver on them.
Philippa: So true Justin; we need to give others an opportunity that they currently may not have access to and this is an excellent way of doing that.
Efe: As well as the development and growth of their businesses, the success that comes from being a mentee (or mentor) also has a huge, positive ripple effect. We see women entrepreneurs regularly create jobs and opportunities in their communities, and become pioneering leaders, change-makers and role models. What are your hopes for the impact that our partnership stands to have?
Justin: I see our partnership with the Foundation as the perfect springboard to build upon the great work RGH has already done to create a culture of equal opportunities. I want to further encourage our Partners to not only become better leaders but become ambassadors within our organisation and the communities around us.
Philippa: Creating a culture of equality isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing. It empowers us to innovate, build deeper connections with our clients and candidates, and ultimately become a better company.
Efe: Thank you – we’re really looking forward to working with you and welcoming your mentors into our programme!