Shazia and Jytte

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Photo: Suste Bonnén

Is there a time limit for the mentoring process? After 5 years, Shazia and Jytte still maintain their relationship, built on trust, openness, and loyalty.

Shazia was born in Pakistan. Her family moved to Norway when she was three years old, and when she was in fifth grade her family settled in Denmark. So she had no need for further "integration" when she joined KVINFO’s Mentor Network as an adult. She sees herself as a Dane. However, there was a time when her professional life felt stagnated: she had been unemployed for one and a half years.

“I was very bad at asking for help,” explains Shazia. “It occurred to me that I could use KVINFO’s  Mentor Network to meet a mature, experienced woman in a natural unforced way, someone with whom I could exchange ideas on how to get back to the labor market.”

She was matched with Jytte, a sales manager with a long and fulfilling career. Jytte remembers their first meeting as a success.

”I wanted Shazia to have an idea of who I was right from the start, so I invited her home for dinner. It was not a neutral place but it worked perfectly! We talked about many subjects and found out that we had plenty of things in common. She was interested in trade and had a background in marketing and sales, just like me,” Jytte says.
“It was quite obvious that she spoke perfect Danish, and knew very well the rules in Danish society, so it was my professional experience she could use.”

Over the past five years Shazia and Jytte have built a mentoring relationship and a solid friendship based on trust, openness and a sense of loyalty.

“Jytte has been there for me every time,” says Shazia. “She has introduced me to her contacts and provided very relevant business insights. I wanted to be more in control of my personal and professional development. She understood this need and has been encouraging and supportive ever since.”

Five years is a long time in a mentoring process. In fact, over these years Shazia has been a mentor herself twice. Is there a limit? When is the right time to stop?

“Early on in the program Shazia and I attended a workshop on how to end a mentor-mentee relationship. It was interesting and practical but we decided ours will never end. It is our choice,” affirms Jytte. ” We will be there for each other as long as possible, for many years to come, we hope.”

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