From Jill Rothenhauser, Group Director, RapportWW
Rapport launched its first Mentorship Program in April 2020. The program was created with the intention of encouraging growth amongst employees and building cross-office relationships throughout Rapport US. The Rapport leadership team listened to their employees and learned there was a need for additional guidance around professional development. Although performance reviews and goal setting conversations were happening with direct managers, our teams wanted to have a less formal way to have these conversations, and with someone in addition to their direct manager. We have remarkably talented people at Rapport, and this was a way to support our staff while better connecting leadership to the entire organization.
Laura Brandes, a Group Director in our Boston office, is passionate about career development and helped facilitate the launch of the mentorship program at Rapport. The feedback from Mentors and Mentees are both incredible proof of the program’s success. As a Mentor, Laura says “It has a been a privilege being a Mentor and empowering others to see their full potential – coaching them on how to navigate tough situations, discussing how to take a leap in their career, and the list goes on and on. What I didn’t realize when taking on the role of a Mentor, was the impact they were going to make on me. Their perspectives have changed my approach to how I think about our business and lead my own team. They’ve taught me to take my own advice and to never settle. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience thus far and I can only hope that they feel the same in return.”
Overall, Rapport tends to skew female, but this is also reflected within the leadership team and senior level positions. With these female leaders being Mentors, it creates visibility across the organization and another opportunity for junior level employees to see future opportunities in their own careers. Quinn Gibbons has been at Rapport for just over 3 years and is currently a Manager and a Mentee in the program. As a Mentee, Quinn says “The mentorship program has really renewed and refined the way I look at career progression. While my progression over the course of my career has been consistent, my relationship with my mentor has impacted my rate of career growth significantly. I attribute most of this growth to speaking up for myself and where I think I deserve to be, which for women I don’t think happens as often as it should.”
We know the pandemic has led to many leaving the workforce, majority of which are women. This Mentorship Program is another way that Rapport has strived to retain key talent and build a culture of flexibility and support across all levels. Peggy Smith, a Jr. Account Executive, has been with Rapport for just under one year. Having started at Rapport mid-pandemic, the Mentorship Program has made a unique impact as she learned to navigate a new company and team. Peggy says, “My favorite outcome from the mentorship program has been the sense of community that it has built for me. It has been wonderful to speak with someone in an elevated leadership position, with a huge amount of experience, about intentional improvement within my organization. I’ve already achieved a better understanding of the company, its functions, and its people through discussions with my mentor. I am very appreciative of the program and the opportunity for growth that it has offered me!”
It is clear the Rapport Mentorship Program is equally beneficial to both Mentors and Mentees, everyone is learning from each other and finding value in this program. As Rapport further develops its DEI initiatives, we see the Mentorship Program organically playing a role in that as it also helps to build an inclusive culture, especially among women, where differences drive innovation and collaboration strengthens our relationships. We genuinely believe we are better together than we are apart, and regardless of level or department, we need to learn from each other and have allies at all levels and disciplines. As women mentoring women, we are inspiring the next generation of leaders to bring their authentic self to the workplace and with that, we need to create a space where everyone feels empowered to speak up, contribute, and be heard. The Rapport Mentorship Program is playing a key role in doing just that. We truly value the talent at Rapport and strive to find ways to keep them engaged and challenged during their careers with us.