Reverse mentoring in Roche Pharma Turkey
by Anita Kulcu-Gusztafik
Reverse mentoring is a method in which the traditional rules of mentoring changed. During the process the mentor is the person who has less or different professional/life experience than the mentee. This situation creates a new learning space and opportunity to share knowledge.
We had a conversation with Özge Uzun from Roche Pharma Turkey, who experienced reverse mentoring with the General Manager, Adriano Treve while she was his assistant in 2017. Currently she is working as a Product Manager.
What can a General Manager learn from a young newcomer?
The process was 1 year long and they had the opportunity to share a lot with each other. As she says:
“I was the mentor of Adriano but it worked both ways.”
She was supporting the general manager to create great material for interviews/articles and presentations, but through this process she also learnt that it is very important to pay attention to details and give context to the reader of the article. As she was doing sports they also discusses many sport related topics and also tech questions. She says: “Topic depends on the person itself.” They sometimes also shared personal challenges and asked for each other’s’ opinion. As Özge mentioned Adriano was very curious about her opinion or insight after business meetings, this also helped her to be able to share different perspectives and ideas. Obviously this was a mutual working and knowledge sharing relationship which was built on trust, honesty, openness and transparency. She said the best things about their mentoring process are being natural and informal.
Suggestions for the future
Özge’s suggestions for the ones who are planning to start reverse mentoring process:
- Check the commitment and willingness of the mentors and mentees
- Let them find each other and decide who they want to work with
- It is very important to have an evaluation
She highlighted a very important insight, she thinkspeople should stop thinking that reverse mentoring is about teaching technology to older people. This is a lot more than that. It is learning about each other’s perspective, life, and point of view. Opportunity to understand another person and generation.