Fast-forward: Novartis SA gets moving to boost women’s mentorship

Novartis SA mentorship walk gives women a deliberate/visible way to develop professionally

Novartis South Africa, always looking to find innovative new ways to embrace diversity and inclusion, staged a mentorship walk at its Waterfall offices on Friday, 17 August, to allow men and women mentors and mentees to engage informally.

As part of Novartis South Africa’s women’s month activities, over 60 Novartis South Africa associates took part in a morning mentorship walk, where Associates engaged leaders in the organisation and used the opportunity to discuss ways to navigate their career paths. The walk symbolised the importance of mentorship in the personal and professional development of women. Halfway through the route, roles were exchanged and Associates and interns gave their more experienced colleagues tips on how they could stay more relevant in the workplace in the digital era.

“Mentorship is a vehicle that every organisation should use to grow its people in order to grow its business. At Novartis, we believe in unleashing the power of our people and one of the effective ways of achieving this is through mentorship. It is one of the many tools that we use to set our employees up for success,” says Novartis South Africa HR Director, Mbulelo Ntusi.

According to Ntusi, mentorship needs should not to be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach but should rather be tailor made to the career and personal development needs of individual employees. This calls for companies to embrace diverse and inclusive cultures in order to identify specific needs, including the gender of each of their employees.

“Whilst diverse culture embraces the many visible and invisible individual differences, inclusion encourages and enables individuals and groups to contribute to their fullest potential by leveraging their unique experiences, perspectives and viewpoints for the collective benefit.

As part of its Diversity and Inclusion agenda, Novartis has prioritised the development of previously disadvantaged groups (including its female associates). With a need for more women in science and medicine, the company has invested in specific programmes to develop female leaders such as the Female Leadership Experience.

“The Female Leadership Experience is a 12-month journey that enables senior female leaders (GJFA 1 – 3) to further develop their leadership capabilities and potential with a clear view toward accelerating their development for broader and more senior leadership roles within the organisation,” says Ntusi.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 119,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com

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