I participated in the Next Generation Women Leaders workshop in Paris in 2014. I met many amazing women there; their passion and commitment to developing fellow female leaders inspired me. I joined McKinsey as a business analyst in the London office about a year and a half ago, after completing my M.Sc. in medicine at the Universidade de Lisboa in Portugal.
I love working at McKinsey and feel attached to the NGWL program that brought me here. When the planning team invited me to mentor a recipient of the then-new NGWL Award last year, I jumped at the opportunity to give back. I wanted to inspire another young female leader to make a difference in her community and consider management consulting and McKinsey.
I was paired with Alia, a petroleum engineering student at the University of Manchester who is the president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers chapter there. My first impression of her was “wow, she’s a rock-star!” I knew she would teach me as much as I would share with her. Ten months later I am 100% sure of this. Alia is incredibly passionate about engineering, and the role of women in this field. I remain incredibly impressed by her ability to lead many activities, inside and outside the classroom. She’s passionate and committed, yet tranquil and relaxed. She’s very self-aware and a lot of fun. She has taught me to put my heart into everything I do.
I hope I’ve helped Alia think a bit more broadly about her potential future career options. We usually talk once a month to share our experiences and discuss any particular challenges or concerns we’re facing – professionally and personally. Since this is her final year at university, we have spent a lot of time discussing her career options, ranging from continuing her studies to starting work in the oil and gas industry. I’ve also connected Alia to a female consultant at McKinsey who specializes in the oil and gas industry, so Alia could hear an expert’s view of the role women can play in the industry.
One thing that has really helped us both over the last 10 months is setting small, concreate goals we tackle in between each conversation. We hold each other accountable each time we talk.
I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to get to know and work with Alia, and I’m confident our relationship will continue far into the future. I’m excited to build another relationship with one of this year’s NGWL Award recipients, and encourage all women to consider applying (by 6 Mar 17).
I’m proud to be part of an open and forward-looking organisation that fosters a great environment for women leaders. As such, I’m privileged to support more women as they find their own paths and voices and contribute to a stronger female leadership environment.