A successful return from parental leave: Romana & Veronika's mentoring experience

Written by
Femme Palette
Published on
August 10, 2023

Mentee Romana Prochazkova had already had experience with mentoring before joining our Mentoring program, and therefore knew it would be beneficial to her. Romana and her mentor Veronika Dvorakova were both fully committed to their mentoring sessions, which enabled them to build a trusting relationship. With Veronika’s help, Romana was able to make her return from parental leave and living abroad even more successful and get fully back into the business mindset. Find out more about their journey together in this interview.

What inspired you to join the Mentoring program?

Romana [mentee]: I’d already had experience with mentoring programs, so it wasn’t my first one. While I was working for a corporation, I joined a mentoring program as an HR employee. During my career, I also had another mentor to help me out with specific topics. So I strongly believe in mentoring as such if it's done right. I knew that this would benefit me again, since it had proved itself in the previous years.

Veronika [mentor]: As for myself, it was both out of curiosity (I was never part of the mentoring program before either as mentor or mentee), but I also wanted to see if I could be helpful or inspiring for someone else in this field to grow and be able to maybe pass my experience or knowledge to them. It was both for me to step out of my comfort zone, but also to help someone else.

Was there something that surprised you during the program?

Romana [mentee]: What’s a surprise is always the personality of the mentors. The mentor always brings their whole personality into the mentoring process. Maybe I wouldn't exactly say it’s surprising, but it’s always interesting to see. 

Veronika [mentor]: I agree with Romana that the most inspiring part is the other person. What perhaps surprised me was how fulfilling it also was for myself, I was not expecting that. 

Romana, what have you learned thanks to your mentor?

Romana [mentee]: I think that one of the takeaways is the more you invest, the more you also gain. I think that both of us were fully committed. And I think that was why it was so successful. Both of us were very present during our mentoring sessions. I tried to be open, and even share my fears, or what's holding me back openly with Veronika. And in the same way, Veronika was very open to share her experience with me and also was very supportive.

And Veronika, how has mentoring Romana benefitted you?

Veronika [mentor]: For me it was also about being present and developing trust. But at the same time, I still tried to keep Romana's progress in mind, I didn't want to be just chatty. I always kept in mind that this was not just a coffee chat.

What did you focus on in your sessions?

Romana [mentee]: I was coming back from a long leave - both parental leave and from living abroad. So first I wanted to get back into the business environment and the mindset, what the market will be like and what position I will return to. I had two possibilities in mind and we explored both. So in the end, I actually decided to focus on one mainly, but still keep the second one kind of as a backup.

Veronika [mentor]: It was a great feeling to support someone coming back from parental leave, because I had also had that experience in my life. I can imagine that if someone had supported me like this, it would have been a lot easier. What was quite funny was that basically, I was only a few steps ahead of Romana, so it was very interesting for me to see what I’ve learned and to give information back. Having just a bit more knowledge and being just a few steps ahead can be helpful.

Do you have a favorite mentoring moment?

Romana [mentee]: Yes, and it was actually every time we met. I really appreciate and admire how Veronika has a growth mindset and is always focused on solutions. Whenever I asked about an insight, or a very specific tool she's using, or if she has read some article or has explored some topic, she always had an answer. And even if that answer would be “I'm just trying to learn it or use it as a beginner myself and these are my experiences so far”, I would still consider Veronika as very inspirational - someone who is always striving to explore possibilities.

Veronika [mentor]: I remember I was very much looking forward to every session. With each session we had completed, I was looking more forward to the next one. When I saw that Romana had made progress, I told myself that this actually had meaning. I felt gratitude for that. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Romana [mentee]: One thing that I realized was that the time Veronika invested was a lot more than just the mentoring sessions. That's something I really appreciate. And something maybe I was not even aware of before we started. I would like to thank Veronika for that.

Working with a mentor is a great way to make a smooth transition from parental leave back to everyday working life. If Romana and Veronika’s story has inspired you, check out our Mentoring for Moms offer and get matched with a mentor who can help you overcome your challenges, frame your mindset, and make sure you return back to work full of confidence.

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