Kathy and Henny

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Photo: Suste Bonnén

Kathy from Iran and her mentor Henny agree that the shared ethical responsibility is a rewarding side of mentoring.

"I have gone from wanting to save the entire world to just do something good for a single person". This is how Danish Henny explained her role as a mentor to a journalist when interviewed about her participation in KVINFO's Mentor Network Program.

Henny has lengthy experience as a teacher and coach in adult education in Denmark, but now she owns a coaching business. Three years ago she was matched with Kathy.

Kathy comes from Iran, where she studied Economics, and worked many years in finance and banking. After moving to Denmark, Kathy found it quite difficult to find a job. She applied for at least fifty different jobs, with no result. Finally, she decided to change careers and is now studying to become a pre-school teacher.

Kathy needed a mentor to help her practice the Danish language and to get a one-to-one introduction to raising young children, like her own son, in a Danish community.

“I remember that we met for the first time at a cafe like any other mentor-mentee couple”, Henny says. “Kathy was facing many challenges back then and wanted to do something about it right away.”

Not only was Kathy highly motivated; she and Henny liked each other, and in a natural and spontaneous way they became friends.

“From that first meeting I knew I could trust Henny one hundred percent. She is truly a great coach! I had a traumatic time with my divorce and she was very good in helping me handle it”, explains Kathy.

Both Kathy and Henny acknowledge that being in a voluntary mentor-mentee relationship means much more than practicing Danish, or exchanging information on cultural practices and values. In their particular case there is a feeling of shared ethical responsibility in the relationship, and that can be very rewarding as well.


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