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Inclusion in action: a ground-breaking collaboration to take mentoring to a whole new level

We are excited to announce our new co-creation and collaboration with the Dutch International Alumni Association (IAA NL) of INSEAD, one of the top-ranked business schools in the world!

At Delitelabs, we proudly offer newcomers the opportunity to be mentored by experienced business professionals in the Netherlands in order to help them develop their skills and integrate into the Dutch (working) culture. We are delighted that our participants will now be able to connect with mentors through our collaboration with the INSEAD International Alumni Association in The Netherlands.

In line with our mission to empower newcomers to unlock their true potential through entrepreneurial training, we strive to offer the best quality of support to our program participants. Giving our participants access to established industry professionals, leaders, and experts who graduated from INSEAD’s world-class programs is a great step toward achieving our high standards of quality, innovation, and professionalism.

“Delitelabs expertise in facilitating ongoing dialogue with newcomers and other groups to deliver an energizing, human-centric experience was the natural choice when we, the Mentorship Team of IAA NL, started to look for a partner organization where we could offer our Mentorship Program for the year 2022,” reflects Kirsten Spahr van der Hoek, Board Member at IAA NL.

The benefits of mentorship (for both the mentee and the mentor)

During the Ice Academy program at Delitelabs, mentors from IAA NL are matched with a Delitelabs participant (the mentee). They are expected to meet weekly, covering a variety of topics of their choosing with the ultimate goal of exploring entrepreneurship as a potential route to creating economic independence, building a local network as well as getting to know the Netherlands as their new home.

Mentorship is a powerful way to learn new skills, discover new perspectives, and challenge ourselves on a regular basis. While there are several benefits for mentees – from increasing self-confidence to improving goal-setting to growing a personal network – there are also huge benefits to the mentors. This includes improving leadership and communication skills, giving (and receiving) feedback, becoming a better listener, and increasing self-awareness.

Delitelabs participant Aleksandra says, “I’m really happy to have such a great chance to be able to work on my ideas during the mentorship experience. In my case, having two mentors brings a lot of opportunities to discover more about my entrepreneurship idea. It’s just great that they have different professional experiences – one as a businessman while the other is a C-leader in a company. I feel I can get more out of the program than I could dream of.”

Mentorship, especially between people from different backgrounds, can also help to foster inclusion – both within our respective workplaces and beyond. Through this mentorship program, both Delitelabs and IAA NL are working to build more inclusive societies by connecting diverse individuals who value inclusion and equality.

Hasan, another participant from Delitelabs, adds, “I can say I was excited when I heard that members from the Dutch branch of the INSEAD International Alumni Association would be our mentors. This is a great opportunity for people like me who are struggling to integrate into the country, business environment, and society in general. It is positively surprising for me that people who take the pulse of the business world spare their time for such a social responsibility project.”

Kicking off: Mentees and mentors meet for the first time

On May 24, 2022, in a small, charming theater in the center of Amsterdam, the IAA NL mentors arrived to meet their mentees – participants from the current cohort of the Ice Academy program. The new mentor-mentee pairings set out on a walk along the Amsterdam canals to get to know each other better and share their expectations for the mentorship program.

During this kick-off session, we recognized several commonalities between the mentees and the mentors, despite their vastly different experiences. In one exercise, each person had to share an experience of when they “started from zero.” Almost everyone had a story about moving to a new country or experiencing a different culture. Some common themes emerged, such as the role of language, the importance of having a strong social support system, the feelings of uncertainty and sadness (but also of opportunity and optimism), and a yearning for stability.

Siddharth, one of the IAA NL mentors, shares, “My very first conversation with my mentee and the introduction session of this program was quite a humbling experience and gave me a new perspective on my life and its challenges. I really look forward to this opportunity to collaborate, learn, and share my knowledge and expertise. I am already excited about my next meeting with my mentee.”

Throughout the kick-off, there was a slightly nervous, yet excited, energy that filled the room. It is clear that everyone is eager to listen, learn, and share new experiences – inclusion in action!

At Delitelabs we are excited about our new partnership with the Dutch INSEAD International Alumni Association and very curious to follow the mentorship experiences. Stay tuned!

Written by Sophie Poulsen - Content Creator at Delitelabs

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