Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?
The LINK will launch in early 2014. To date, the pilot phase of The LINK has demonstrated initial impact on the young women who have been selected as mentees. The LINK will gather feedback from mentees and mentors on a quarterly basis and for several years after completion of the mentorship. The data collected will assess if the mentorship changed the career prospects of the mentee, enabled career progression, promotions or helped the mentee overcome specific challenges they can attribute wholly or in part to the mentorship. With corporate and academic partners, we can measure promotion rate for LINK participants versus non-participants. On long-term impact, “if the number of females in the workplace were raised to the same level as that of men in the UAE, GDP would expand by 12%.” (Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF, Women and the World Economy, Project Syndicate, 24 Sept 2013)
Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Barriers would include difficulty attracting young women to participate in the mentoring program, particulary for those who lack self-confidence and may not come forward. This will be overcome through promoting The LINK programs and raising awareness on how a mentor can guide and assist a young women navigate workplace challenges. Another barrier may be recruiting young Emirati women. We plan to address this by recruiting Emirati women as mentors and on our Advisory Committee. We have already secured an influential Emirati businesswoman, as Honorary Chairperson. A final barrier is funding.
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)
We intend to spread The LINK across the UAE once we have fully tested the concept and processes in Dubai. We are currently negotiating a partnership with the Dubai Business Women's Coucil and could replicate the same within other Emirates. We intend to bring the LINK to other countries in the Middle East and subcontinent. The concept is easily replicated with little investment that would be secured through corporate partners having a vested interest in diversity and promoting female leadership. The LINK Founders would provide the model for creating a LINK branch and give training to new organizations to set up and deliver the mentoring program and associated skills training. Spreading The LINK would further connect women across regions.