Mentoring isn’t just a way to network. Research shows it can have real impact on the careers of both people involved.
For women finding their way in the business world, a supportive friendship with a more experienced professional can be especially helpful. With that in mind, CSL Behring in Marburg, Germany has joined Mentoring Hessen, a joint project between Hessen's universities and well-known, international companies and research institutions.
The unique, nationwide program aims to promote the advancement of women, including students, doctoral candidates, postdocs as well as prospective professors and executives. Through the program, young women get support through mentoring relationships, training and networking, preparing them for promising careers.
We asked CSL Behring’s Stephanie Fuchs to talk about her participation as a mentor. Fuchs is Head of Communications in Marburg, where CSL Behring has a large facility dedicated to developing and manufacturing medicines for people with rare and serious diseases.
How long have you been involved in Mentoring Hessen? How did you and your mentee get matched?
Fuchs: I’ve been on board since the start of the first phase in summer 2020. A phase lasts one year. Mentor and mentee are assigned to each other based on their qualifications. At a first meeting, you get to know each other, and if you don’t click, you can switch.
How do you work with your mentee?
Fuchs: According to the program, we meet at least six times a year. My mentee and I meet every six weeks – virtually, of course, in the current situation – so we’ll exceed that. We set goals we’ll work through together. Some of them are: learning how to be confident and prepared; advice on transitions and salary negotiations; how to keep developing your skills; and which steps to take to raise your external profile, for example, by optimizing your profile on LinkedIn.
Can you tell us about your mentee?
Fuchs: My mentee is currently working on her doctorate. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. We are tapping into all the issues that may come up when beginning a career. She finds the area of talent development exciting, so I invited a colleague from Talent Development to join our next meeting.
Would you have liked to be part of such a program yourself before starting your professional career?
Fuchs: Yes, for sure! Absolutely! I missed the very practical tips on how to proceed wisely in professional life, and when and where to do so, especially at university.
But I’m happy to use my years of experience to provide that support for someone else. It’s such a joy to accompany a young person and to see her achieve something. To know that you can give tips that help. I always look forward to the appointments, because it’s such a nice exchange. I also benefit from her perspective about getting started in a company.
As a bonus, I have met other women at CSL Behring who are mentors in the program. As a result, I have gotten to know some female colleagues much better and have learned a lot about the different roles we have here at CSL Behring in Marburg in departments such as Quality. I have the greatest respect for them.