Founded by Queen Silvia and members of WHO , Mentor is a non-profit organization working to empower 13-17 year old children, focusing on socioeconomically challenged areas in Sweden. Internationally also operating in Denmark, Germany, Lebanon, USA and Latvia, they passionately believe that good role models can change society. In this article we meet Cecilia Bernard, Secretary General at Mentor to hear her take on the societal challenges the Mentor team are working to solve.
Mentor work with, and are financed by, partnering companies such as H&M, SEB, Postkodlotteriet and JM, but also smaller players such as Wise Group and Cederqvist Law Firm. With a team of 30 people they work with mentorship programs to connect people in the business world with youngsters around Sweden.
”We have a vision that young people should be allowed to grow up healthily and drug-free, and we use mentorship as a tool “– says Cecilia Bernard, Secretary General at Mentor
By continuously working every day to strengthen young people through their programs they contribute to a bigger change in today’s society.
”We reach around 20 000 youths every year. I dare to say that we create life changing interactions between mentors and mentees on a daily basis that empowers our future society” – says Cecilia.
With all the social issues we see today Mentor see an important role in being there for the new generation and build the future together with them. They see a bigger need than ever before among the youth, a task that can seem both endless and filled with possibilities. The key pillars for progress are focus and endurance.
To show such special care for young people means to always be up to date with what is happening around you and to build that bridge that attracts adult people that want to contribute. Before being Secretary General at Mentor Cecilia Bernard had a history of being the Managing Director for several different digital agencies. In those roles, innovation was at the core of the business, something she brings with her to her work with Mentor.
“All organizations, including Mentor, need to work with continuous improvements to face general developments and disruption within their industry. At Mentor we primarily work with innovation through new findings in social science, equality and are working hard to be a digital-oriented foundation.’’ – says Cecilia.
Mentor is growing rapidly to meet the big need for supporting young people. The current focus within the team is to update the Mentor brand and a bigger push for a digital transformation including updating CRM systems, website and digital processes. Their big goal is to make Mentor more visible and well-known to the public to accelerate impact and youth resilience.
“We know that there are lots of established adults in our country that want to contribute to inclusion, they just don’t know how to do it. Then it’s simply up to us to show them the possibilities that are out there” – says Cecilia.
Mentor chose to operate out of Epicenter Stockholm with the hope of reaching new partner companies and future mentors. If you want to get involved, Mentor encourages the Epicenter Community to host a series of group mentor sessions, meaning you lead a group of youth within an area of your expertise.