According to the results of a recent Women in Finance survey, more than half (52%) of women are dissatisfied with their career in one way or another; however less than a third of the women surveyed reported having a mentor or role model to support their careers.
By virtue of scarcity in numbers, women are missing out—and whether it manifests in the little things (finding your way to the ladies room) or the big things (finding your way to the boardroom), there are more stumbling blocks on the way to the top for women than for men.
Few know this lesson better than Caroline Ghosn, Co-Founder and CEO of The Levo League, the only technology start up dedicated to accelerating career development of young professional women
As women, “[w]e don’t structurally have access to traditional vertical mentors,” says Ghosn. “Many women at the top tiers of the business world are, for the most part, bereft of the traditional mentorship, networking, and lateral support opportunities available to men.”
Ghosn thinks she’s found the key to reducing that deficit: helping other career women. And so, armed with the spirit of “there’s plenty of room at the top,” and alongside Co-Founder Amanda Pouchot, the duo launched The Levo League in March 2012.
GoGirlFinance sat down with Caroline to get the scoop.
Three Mentorship Models for Females in Finance
1. Traditional – Find a role model who can both make you a priority and focus their skills and experience on helping you grow your development. The best traditional role model is a person committed to helping you grow. Meeting in person to discuss your growth is a very traditional way to go about mentorship.
2. Peer-to-Peer – Both Ghosn and Pouchot benefited from this style of mentorship—they learned from one another. Neither women were experts when they started out, but as they learned on the job, they shared experiences that helped them proactively improve their skillsets. Each reported their progress and offered insight and reflection. In a peer-to-peer mentorship relationship, mentor and mentee are committed to growing as a team.
3. Democratized – This is a new one, and to date has been somewhat specialized to web-based services likes TED and The Levo League’s interactive video Office Hours. In the democratized mentorship model, the needs of a group of mentees are brought to light and potential mentors are chosen based on their success at addressing the pitfalls and challenges of the group. A strong female with significant experience is very important to the success of the model; while it can be difficult to carry an online conversation as a woman who’s had only a few key relevant experiences, a woman who has served as the head of an organization is likely to have the breadth and depth of knowledge requisite to this format.
Ghosn says the women who are members of The Levo League are women who are more likely to seek out mentorship and to engage with mentors in their offices, professional networks, and personal lives. Crucial to The Levo League’s platform are women who believe that everyone has something to contribute.
“It is equally important for us to engage with our advisors who would be considered our mentors as it is to engage with women who we begin to mentor such as our spring interns,“ said Ghosn.
Ghosn plans to help mentor those summer interns in her new office in Manhattan. “Amanda and I saw a need for female mentorship in the workplace, and Levo is starting to fill that need,” Caroline told me.
“We’ve even been able to start opening our office space up to League members who are in New York doing job interviews or scouting mentors and career changes.”