Are you afraid of change? Get a mentor to help you fight it! This could be the message of the interview with one of our mentees Tereza Svedova and her mentor Michaela Kloudová, the founder & CEO of Genster. Misa not only guided Terka in leaving her comfortable job in finance into the unknown world of start-ups, but she also introduced her to its Czech community. And all of that despite being very skeptical about mentoring in the first place. Thank you for putting your trust in Femme Palette.
What inspired you to join the mentoring program?
T: I learned about Femme Palette by chance when I was listening to a podcast with Lucie, one of the co-founders. I checked the website and really liked the idea. And as it was also a great chance to meet new people, I decided to join.
M: Two years ago, I was approached through LinkedIn. But since I was starting Genster, I didn’t feel ready, leave alone being skeptical about people who called themselves mentors or coaches. At the beginning of 2021, I still wasn’t sure I’d be a good mentor, but thanks to the challenges of 2020, I could share my mistakes and advise someone on what not to do.
How has it changed since you have been matched with your mentee?
M: It is better than I expected! The most important thing was that we clicked on a personal level and that our journeys were very similar. I could see a version of my younger self in Terka when I was still working for a corporation and wanting to start something by myself.
T: Mentoring with Femme Palette definitely exceeded my expectations. Similar to Misa, I was very skeptical about it at first, but due to social deprivation as well as my curiosity, I decided to join and am glad I did.
What surprised you the most about your mentee?
T: I was pleasantly surprised that Misa really listened to me and understood well the challenges I was facing. She wasn’t just replying with empty words which was great.
M: For me, it was the realization that I can impact someone’s career. Oftentimes, we question our abilities to help, but thanks to this excellent match, I realized that I can actually pass on my experience and help my mentee avoid some of the mistakes I made. I remember coming back from our first session with Terka and telling my boyfriend, ‘it was awesome!’
What topics do you cover in your mentoring sessions?
T: My objective is to launch a business, but I don’t have any pressing idea or a business plan in place. At my previous job, I had little time to work on it but now that I quit and have met Misa, I can focus on getting more exposure to the start-up scene and will also be starting a new job at a Czech start-up soon.
M: What I notice lately is that many people don’t think about time. But actually, that is super important and I’d like to reinforce that you shouldn’t wait for anything. You have to do the change yourself! And this is also one of the most common topics of our mentoring sessions.
What have you learned from your mentee?
M: At our first meeting, Terka was full of emotions and really eager to make a change. And only halfway through the program (3 months in), she already did it! Terka also offers a different perspective from the British environment which is very eye-opening for me.
What has been the biggest contribution to your career so far?
T: Misa opened up her network to me and connected me with people in Prague to help me settle in after returning from the UK. And that is one of the greatest contributions of hers to my career so far.
M: This is very natural as I also met many people when I was starting a business who helped me along the way.
M: When you see that your mentee is great and you want to recommend them, it is a good light for you as well. It is a win-win situation.
What was your favorite mentoring moment?
M: I was surprised when Terka quit her job, despite not having another job offer on the table.
T: A couple of days ago, Misa sent me a voice message suggesting to meet somebody and I loved that she was thinking about me even outside of our mentoring sessions.
Is there something you would recommend to mentors & mentees?
T: Be as transparent as you can. I can tell my mentor basically anything, so it’s crucial to be open, honest, and ensure there is chemistry between you two. If it doesn’t work out, say it.
M: The match matters the most. Probably, if we didn’t have chemistry, we wouldn’t do it and invest our time elsewhere. It is also important to focus on the objectives and reevaluate them every time you meet them. I suggest always asking yourself, ‘what do you want to get out of this particular action you are taking?’, because mentoring is a constantly evolving journey.
Anything else you would like to add?
T: I often share my experience with my male friends and they are jealous of this opportunity.
M: Just grab your life in your hands and do something because time is running out.
Worry not! Femme Palette offers mentoring also for men, so all your male friends can join as well. We hope that this story has inspired you to take the chance and make a change. And remember that you are not alone, the Femme Palette community is here to support you.