The Key to both a job and a Danish way of life
Cristina got her dream job as a chemical engineer in the pharmaceutical industry after 11 months. However it has been just as important to her, that the collaboration with Anne Mette helped her take a giant leap into the Danish society.
|Mentee Cristina Saiz
· Cristina left Madrid 5 years ago to finish her education at DTU, the Technical University of Denmark.
· The goal for her mentor relationship was a job. Therefore Cristina wished for a mentor with knowledge of the industry, with whom she could discuss the labor market, her CV and applications.
Mentor Anne Mette McAloone
· Anne Mette is a senior project manager in Novo Nordisk.
· She is an engineer and is married to an Englishman.
Af Jørgen Poulsen
Since 2002 the knowledge of KVINFO’s Mentor Network has produced a ripple effect, where it is heard about from friend and colleagues or in professional contexts. This also applies to Anne Mette McAloone and Cristina Saíz.
Anne Mette has herself tried to find work in a new country, she says: “It’s really useful to have someone to talk to and find out how to do things there. I have tried it myself. The first time was when I spent a year in France after high school. Just having to search for a job and figureing out how to do it was a challenge. It is in those situations you need someone who has local knowledge. So when a friend, a mentor in KVINFO’s Mentor Network, told me about it, I thought I would like to be a mentor.”
Christina Saiz ‘heard about KVINFO’s Mentor Network from the woman of whom she rentet a room. “I googled the Mentor Network and thought right away: why not? I felt that I needed it. I signed up and in a few days I had a meeting at KVINFO, where they told me about the Mentor Network and where I filled out the forms. A few months later, they wrote that Anne Mette would be a good mentor match and they suggested we met. ”
After Christina had finishedher education as a chemical engineer, it was at the top of her wishlist to get a job in the pharmaceutical industry. In this case Anne Mette’s profile was perfect. Not only did they have the same educational background, Anne Mette also had extensive industry knowledge and a large network, so she could identify those companies where it could be relevant for Christina to seek employment.
“I hoped that Anne Mette could guide me into the Danish labor market. Of course I learned a lot about Denmark at DTU and heard about how the working environment is. But it’s something else when you meet someone who shares her first hand experiences. At the same time I would like to practice my Danish. At that point I was only at Level 2, so I was really far behind” says Christina.
Professional match and mutual learning
Anne Mette has been mentor before in other contexts. According to her, KVINFO’s mentor model is a great plus to be able to match education, job profile or shared interests. It helps to make the collaboration work and increase the chances of reaching the mentee’s goals: “When I met Christina and found that her educational background in many ways resembles mine, I thought it would be piece of cake to find her a job.”
For the mentors, the collaboration goes both ways, Anne Mette explains: “I have learned a lot from Christina about how it is to land in Denmark and about Spain and Spanish culture. Of course, we spent a lot of time looking at our CVs. Christina is a bit younger than me and as things evolve over time, she inspired me to make my CV more contemporary.” According to Anne Mette’s Christina has also taught her a lot about how to use social media.
Opened up the Danish society
After 11 months as unemployed, Christina reached her goal and got a job in Biogen. The mentoring process had been crucial. In addition to getting industry knowledge, practicing Danish and working with CVs and applications, it has been important for Christina that they prepared for job interviews thoroughly, she explains: “Anne Mette and I met a couple of times where we went through how I should formulate myself for job interviews and how to respond along the way. It was also a support that it was not only me who was happy to have a job interview but also that Anne Mette was excited. You feel that you do not stand alone. It was worth so much that Anne Mette said that it was only a matter of time before I would get a job. This encouragement was probably the most important part of the process. ”
For Christina, it was top priority to find work and use her education. But when she looks back, the experience of settling in Denmark was just as important. Anne Mette has helped her make a Danish living: “I felt that I finally got a close relationship with a Dane. She was the first Dane who unreservedly would help me, and who could understand my poor Danish. It has really been a big step into the Danish society for me to get to know someone who will show me her world, which will also be mine at some point. At DTU you meet some Danes and a lot of other foreigners. But there is no one you can come to with with your problems or concerns, and who you ultimately trust 100 percent. But I did that with my mentor. It was a hard year for me. I had studied for many years and had just finished my master. I had been in a situation where I knew my own world. Now I did not know where the trail led. I were out of work but wanted to work. Although I sent many applications, I only came to a few job interviews. That’s why the support I received from Anne Mette was incredibly important. ”
Age doen’t matter
There is a relatively large age difference between Anne Mette and Christina. However they did not experience it as a problem at all. Experience from KVINFO’s Mentor Network also shows that age does not seem to play a role for mentor and mentee collaboration or for the mentee achieving her goals. This also applies to mentor pairs, where mentor is younger than mentee, or for couples who are peers.
Anne Mette believes that the age difference in their case could be used positively: “I also learn a lot of my children. This applies, for example, to the availability of new technology and how it is used. So you can learn even more of each other when there is an age difference between, I think. I could be her mother. I also believe that Christina thinks it’s cozy. She is away from her family.
Christina agrees: “It may sound a bit sought, but you can perceive the mentor role as a mother or father figure. But soon I realized that it would not change if Anne Mette was 20 or 60 years old. So the age difference meant nothing to me. ”
Christina is now a mentor herself
Anne Mette has much experience as a mentor, for example, to students at DTU and at Novo Nordisk in a program for refugees. “We generally find out how different we humans are. It is true in every aspect of life that people are very different. Some people click very well from the start. Christina and I did. It was just nice to be together, and we would like to follow each other’s lives. There are other mentor courses where I thought: The task must be solved and when it is, we won’t see each other anymore. ”
This is not the case here. Christina and Anne Mette are still in contact though they have completed their mentor course. Their mentor/mentee relationship has developed into a friendship. At the same time, Anne Mette has inspired Christina to become a mentor in KVINFO’s Mentor Network herself. Anne Mette explains: “I thought that Christina had just tried to settle in Denmark, searched for a job and found out how to set up her CV and gain industry knowledge. Christina is the perfect mentor. ”