Suyin Aerts
October 21, 2022


This was a week that reminded me more than once about the power of mentoring. I actually never had a mentor myself, maybe I should look for one. I am a mentor in some programs and when I have interns in the company I always prefer the role of mentor rather than ‘boss for a while’. When I have the chance to speak in front of young people, I am always happy to be an inspiration for them to always follow their dreams.

This week I was reminded by Gina about how our relationship started back in 2014, when I was a guest speaker in her masters and she ended up being an intern for almost half a year if I remember well.

As she was so fantastic and completely fitted our company culture we made her a job offer and we wanted to teach her all the skills to become a master in inflatables, but Gina was much braver then that (maybe because that was what I taught her in the months together to always follow your guts and passions at that moment), she decided to leave for a trip around the world. What a lady. 

She was also at my sight when I got my terrible brain stroke. I will never forget how this young girl suddenly became so much of a help for me, reversed mentoring. Being a mentor is also accepting the mirror. Yes as a mother I also have a mirror with my daughters but as a mentor it is different.

Yesterday a young girl who just finished her studies came for a chat after my keynote in her University alumni event who invited me as a speaker.

So nice to hear my talk touched her and gave her extra energy to go for her dream : leaving for New Zealand in 3 weeks from now instead of immediately starting her professional career. I keep an eye on you Katrien, I am sure we will meet again, and wow how brave you are!

Today was my first call with a new mentee, a female founder of a tech fashion start-up. Seeing the twinkle in the eyes of Christina, who is willing to make a difference in the world, makes me smile. I immediately tried to find a speaking opportunity for her to spread the message. 

It is an honor when you can mentor and be a role-model to others, yes it takes time. It is about listening and asking the right questions. It is about influence and guidance, for me it is not about coaching, the most important word for me in mentoring is trust and being there in different situations, a shoulder to cry on sometimes, giving ideas, thinking out of the box and opening your own network without expecting anything back.

I would like to thank all those on my path who gave me the trust so far to be a mentor to them.

"A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself "

Oprah Winfrey

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