The goals are clear: enabling equal opportunities, promoting diversity and increasing the proportion of women at A1. The ways to achieve this are as diverse as the people who take them. One of the paths is the mentoring program at A1 Austria. Mentor Karin and mentee Melanie tried it out and share their experiences in this A1 story.
A1 is committed to sustainability and thus incorporates it into its strategic goals. Regarding equal opportunities, A1 offers numerous initiatives with different approaches on how women can increase their visibility in the company, reduce and break down their own and structural barriers, and strengthen their internal network via various platforms. The mentoring program at A1 Austria is one of them. It started in 2022 and ever since then, 15 women offer their expertise to other female colleagues. Melanie Mayerhofer and Karin Mairhofer answer some questions on how it works, what the advantages are, and what it means to be a role model.
How did the mentoring come about?
Melanie: We know each other from an organizational development project with regular (1:1) meetings. Even during this collaboration, we had a fruitful exchange about a variety of problems. After a new professional opportunity arose for me, I asked Karin for advice in this matter as well.
Karin: When Melanie asked me to be her mentor, I didn’t hesitate for a moment and gladly offered my support. My extent of experience immediately convinced Melanie and the mentoring program took its course. :-)
Why are you a mentor?
Karin: After writing an article on LinkedIn #thislittlegilrlwasme, I realized that I enjoyed great opportunities as a young woman and that I always received support. Honestly, it’s no different today :-). I am very grateful for that and happy to be able to share my experience with the community.
Why did you decide to participate as a mentee?
Melanie: For me, it was important to look at my situation through an outside perspective, that is, from someone with whom I do not work directly. The mentoring program and Karin in particular were a perfect match for me.
What are your take-aways from the mentoring program?
Melanie: Karin has a lot of practical suggestions for working out solutions and has been a great support in achieving my personal goals:
- Saying «no» to the right things
- Cultivating networks at A1
- Strengthening visibility
Karin: Through the exchange with Melanie, topics get a breath of fresh air and other perspectives. For me, it’s a WIN-WIN situation — also because Melanie implements my suggestions.
«The chemistry must be right»
Karin and Melanie’s tips to the community:
- Don’t be afraid to seek support from others or offer it to others.
- Agree on common goals and a collaboration mode. This mutual commitment is important for success.
- The chemistry must be right and you have to trust each other.
In our case, it’s not just the last name that connects us, but also similar experiences in our 20s, like international event catering and the enthusiasm to travel the world every chance we get.