March 26th Mentorship Seminar

The implementation of mentorship programs in Uzbekistan is in its earliest stages. Only large multinational companies that have human resource (HR) departments are able to design and run comprehensive mentorship programs for their employees. Since most businesses in Uzbekistan are small, having a full HR department is often not feasible.
Without a mentorship program or HR department, how can these small businesses develop their employees’ qualifications? What are the solutions for small businesses and startups? And why is mentorship important?
The HR Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Uzbekistan examined these and many other questions during the Corporate Mentorship round table on March 26 as part of Women in Science and Technology Week, March 25-31. The seminar also addressed the different mentorship models (formal and informal) and touched on how to start a mentorship program.
Seminar speakers represented several multinational corporations operating in Uzbekistan, plus famous mentor coaches from Silicon Valley, along with authors of regional online leadership schools.
“Why is mentorship is important? Because by investing into the development of our personnel we increase potential of the company,” said Jennifer Bigelow, general director of General Motors Powertrain Uzbekistan. “We have developed a multistep program where a mentee gradually moves to the next level. The mentor and mentee match is highly important.”
Similarly, Komila Khasanova, head of human resources at British-American Tobacco Uzbekistan (BAT), talked about the company’s Global Graduate Programme, where a mentee chooses a mentor from BAT’s worldwide locations. Nazira Sheraly, founder of LeanIn Online Mentorship Program, shared information about the platform, which is designed to match mentor and mentee globally based on their professional interests. Since introducing the platform, Sheraly has received 46 applications from people interested in being mentors and more than one hundred from mentees.
The mentorship round table was moderated by Tatyana Bystrushkina, AmCham executive director and graduate of several leadership programs. She outlined the importance of developing soft skills, including creativity, leadership, critical thinking, communication, time management, and confidence. These are skills that most companies now consider key for new employees.
Shachi Patel, founder of and executive coach at SETU Coaching, and Beth Steinberg, chief people officer at Zenefits, both from the Silicon Valley in the United States, covered useful and simple mentorship models including the GROW Model, the SCARF Neuroleadership model and the Myers Briggs personality test. All of these models and tests are instrumental in designing a mentorship program to develop a mentee’s skills.
“Sometimes people are stuck and need direction and support in identifying and reaching their aims,” said Steinberg. “It is important that a person receives support in this particular moment. From my work experience, all successful people had their relatives, colleagues or a mentor near to support and direct them. Mentorship is a very simple and very important thing. It is very important to be able to listen, to hear and to advise. And at a certain point I have decided that I would mentor and sponsor women in getting new experience,” she said.