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Mentor and mentee relationships - making a difference

Photographs: / Unsplash

Text: Skyler Bentley Hall

The Greater Copenhagen Career Programme recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, which has been an excellent success for Denmark!

The GCCP is for international students living in Greater Copenhagen and aims to retain talented students. University students join a series of networking/job-seeking seminars and are matched with a career mentor in the Danish Industry. Mentors share their network while supporting mentees with job search strategies and understanding Danish work culture. In 2022, Denmark was ranked number three in the Insead Global Talent Competitiveness Index, measuring how countries and cities grow, attract, and retain talent.

Heading into the holiday season, there is much to be thankful for. Here are some words of gratitude from the mentors and mentees.

“I said yes to being a mentor for the GCCP because I wanted to give back. Being an international student in Denmark has proven helpful in guiding the three mentees I have had so far. Providing support with job search and personal branding is just as important as moral support, and I try to focus on that. Knowing that everything is possible will always lift you up! My last mentee was a Lighting Designer, a field I had to learn about. I got to know his industry and personally put some extra effort into guiding him properly. We worked on his CV and portfolio, LinkedIn optimisation, networking strategies, personality assessment, and interview roleplay, and I shared a bit about my work so that he could gain another perspective. Above all that, Luca was a diligent, invested mentee and incredibly kind. You could tell that he was talented from the get-go. No wonder he landed the job of his dreams. All my mentees have all taught me something in return. From knowing your worth to being resilient and the importance of being analytical, each of them was able to bring perspectives that I can also, in turn, use to guide my future mentees. We will also keep in touch, even after the collaboration period. It comes naturally, and it’s always exciting to hear about their professional learnings. – Marina Surdhu, Senior Talent Acquisition & Employer Branding Specialist, IO Interactive A/S.

“I joined the GCCP as a mentee while doing my master’s thesis because a friend of mine convinced me. I was not expecting to get much out of it, but I could not have been more wrong! The programme and my mentor, Inge-Lise Kühl, ended up being a real help in landing my first job. As a young international looking to start a career in Denmark, I discovered how difficult it could be. Not only are you trying to convince companies that the risk of hiring someone without experience is worth it, but you are facing the cultural and social barrier of being in a different country. Inge-Lise showed me that those barriers could be overcome with effort and optimism. We had great mentee-mentor chemistry from the beginning, and I always looked forward to our next call. She offered great help on how to face job applications, how to handle interviews, and how to engage recruiters by showing the most vital points of my profile.” – Javier Garcia, Regulatory Affairs Coordinator in Medical Devices for Phillips-Medisize.

"It just makes sense to support great talents with their first steps into the Danish business environment. I am so fortunate to have been matched with three great GCCP mentees." - Marianne Heidam, Senior Global Product Manager, Ambu A/S

“It just makes sense to support great talents with their first steps into the Danish business environment. I am so fortunate to have been matched with three great GCCP mentees. All but one has secured a great job in Danish Med Tech companies, and I hope we can help our third mentee find a successful position. Last year I invited my mentees to my home for Christmas dinner (Julefrokost). Previously, they had never met and had nothing else in common other than me being their mentor. They were from China, Bangladesh, and Latvia – spanning all ages with different cultural, religious, and educational backgrounds. We shared our challenges, dreams and discovery of differences while growing up in contrasting environments. To continue this tradition, we will meet again in December to enjoy each other’s company.” - Marianne Heidam, Senior Global Product Manager, Ambu A/S.

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