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ABOUT the Women's Mentor Initiative

JacKryn Holdings, the company that launched the Womens' Mentor Initiative, is a firm that grew out of the need to attract and retain highly qualified women in the financial services sector in the United Kingdom in the 1990s.  Both as a lawyer and an investment banker, Rita Theil, JacKryn Holdings President and CEO was fortunate enough to have excellent mentors that sponsored her career progression.  At that time, however, few women had mentors that helped them move up the corporate ladder into management positions and institutional expertise walked out the door, often taking other talented professionals with them.  The loss of high quality female staff was made worse by the high cost of recruiting their replacement.  The result in The City of London was that the already small pipeline of trained women to become the leaders of the future was evaporating.   


During her time at Citibank plc, Rita Theil founded CITI WOMEN in order that Citibank would be a leader in attracting, developing, advancing and retaining female talent at all levels. Citi Women, started in London but quickly became a company-wide effort designed to achieve these objectives. 


Whether in a bank, accounting firm or legal practice, the solution is to provide women with good mentors.  Yet, women at different levels of your organisation require different mentoring.  The right mentor will depend on a woman's skills and training requirements, her stage in life and seniority at the organization.  Experience shows that it is imperative that mentors have the express authority to advance your career.  Otherwise, they are simply supportive colleagues. 


Many firms mistake networking for mentoring. While networking is important, it is only one component of navigating a successful career.  Mentoring bridges the gap between your talented women and them reaching their full potential.  


Mentoring, if it is to be successful, must evolve into true sponsorship. The WMI can show your organization how to ensure this result.


The WMI unique approach is easy to embed in the corporate culture.  It is a cost-effective, proven methodology that can be applied to men and women and can demonstrate results to the bottom line.  As a result, we were the first to set up a formal women's' mentoring initiative at Citibank in the United Kingdom in 2001. 


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Our Vision is to be the best provider for mentorship training, thereby creating the opportunity for women to maximize their contribution by realizing their full potential and succeed at every level of our clients' business; including the Board.  


If you share our Vision, please follow us on Twitter at

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