By Nick Robeson
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Originally published on LinkedIn

Boyden, a leading global talent advisory firm with over 70 offices across 45 countries, has been partnering closely with The Aleto Foundation since 2020, as part of Boyden’s global #DisruptTheNorm campaign.

The Aleto Foundation was founded by business and cultural leaders who believed that all young people deserved the opportunity to become future leaders, regardless of their racial or social backgrounds. The foundation, first launched in 2011, provides individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds with tools required to become an effective future business leader.

About The Aleto Foundation’s Mentorship Programme

The most ambitious alumni aged 17-27 from Aleto’s Leadership Programme are able participate in the year-round mentorship scheme, where they are matched based on their professional interests with a mentor from one of the Foundation’s corporate partners. Led by the mentee, these sessions serve as an opportunity to work closely with senior business leaders to plan their professional journey.

The pairing process hinges upon establishing a common ground; looking at the level of seniority of the mentor, their career history, and their interests to determine whether they will be suitable to provide relevant guidance. The reciprocal nature of the mentor-mentee relationship makes for a series of well-rounded discussions where they each feel as though they have benefited more than the other.

As Emmanuel Ayoola, Aleto’s Director of Fundraising, notes: “Every successful mentoring relationship is a two-way street. It's not only about recognizing the value for the mentee, its about both people coming together to learn to take control of their career and work on preparing for the next move – the mutual exchange drives the Programme forward”.

Why Boyden?

Compared to other industries, Executive Search and mentors from firms such as Boyden have unique perspectives to share with young people hoping to develop their early careers.  As active members of the recruitment process, Boyden’s mentors are able to share specifics about the journey one takes throughout their career and are, in turn, able to guide a mentee about where they stand within the life cycle of a company.

As of 2022, Boyden is the only company the Foundation partners with that offers Aleto alumni the opportunity to be informed of specific career development tools, with Ayoola citing PROPHET, Boyden's inhouse psychometric, as a key example.

The value of a mentor with an executive search background, according to Lisa Farmer, Managing Partner and Co-Leader of Boyden’s Global Interim Management Practice, is that “the mentors are dealing with leaders every day and can therefore provide strong insight into sharing what makes a great leader,” noting that such mentors are involved with every stage of the corporate cycle and have a strong understanding of how professionals achieve seniority within their fields.

Speaking about her experience as a mentor, Farmer emphasises the fact that the sessions where successful due to the drive displayed by her mentee, Lisa Kennedy. With specific goals for each session in place, they established a strong support system to provide Kennedy with the tools she required to advance in her career. The key to this mentoring relationship’s success, they believe, was the support they provided one another amidst the pandemic and Kennedy’s professional changes.

“I was keen to improve my project management skills and stakeholders’ engagement and management,” she said of her objectives. “At the time these skills were my main focal points at work, and I wanted to make sure I was approaching these skills in the best way to make life at work more streamlined.”

Kennedy believed that a mentor from Boyden offered a unique insight into corporate relations. She added that working closely with Lisa Farmer, who has extensive experience working with C-Suite leaders, meant that she was paired with a professional who could improve her communication skills, particularly when interacting with senior management.

Marvelyn Andersen, Boyden’s Sales and Marketing intern, who was introduced to the programme through the 2021 session of the Avanade-Aleto Leadership Programme in Tech, praised Aleto’s process of matching a young person with the appropriate mentor. Wanting to gain knowledge about working in finance and technology, she and her mentor were able to find a middle ground that catered towards her drive to boost her confidence and learn how to expand her network, thus opening her up to more opportunities.

When asked whether the programme made it easier to assimilate into the culture at Boyden, Andersen said she was able to adapt easily to the culture of the UK office, believing there was more of an opportunity to interact directly with senior members of the team during her first foray into the professional environment. “Working at Boyden introduced me to an international network and encouraged me to step out of my existing comfort zone,” she stated.

By being given the space to take ownership of what they needed from the programme, past mentees share the perspective that Aleto’s structure allows for greater opportunities for support and guidance that young people constantly seek in the current professional climate.

Kennedy echoed this sentiment, saying: “Without being part of Aleto, I doubt I would be in the job I am in today. I know I’m only one example but these types of programmes are imperative to supporting young people build professional experience so they can forge their careers in a way that suits them.”

The relationship between Boyden and The Aleto Foundation continues to develop as both organisations look for further ways to support each other. Nick Robeson, Chief Executive for Boyden in both Ireland and the United Kingdom commented “This partnership has been instrumental in our organisations competence in relations to difference and inclusion. We see ourselves at the sharp end of the supply chain on such matters. Helping young adults from diverse backgrounds break down any barriers to entry (perceived or real) is hugely rewarding for all involved”.

About Boyden

Focused on Executive Search, Interim Management and Leadership Development, Boyden is a premier, global leadership and talent advisory firm. With more than 70 offices in over 45 countries we help leadership teams reach peak performance by enhancing their effectiveness. If you would like to contact Boyden to discuss anything raised above, please email nick.robeson@boyden.com

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