Staying in touch!
The closing event of the 2021 Mentoring Program, where professional women held an ongoing dialogue with company directors throughout the year, highlighted the benefits of the initiative that is on track to be repeated in 2022.
With just ten minutes to summarize the results of several months of meetings, Tecpetrol women employees at the 2021 Mentoring Program closing event commented on their experiences of dialogue and exchange with company directors throughout the year. Split into small groups, they shared personal opinions and anecdotes about the crossover gender and generation initiative, promoted by the Diversity team. The program is now lining up a new edition for 2022, according to María Laura García, Tecpetrol Talent Manager, who spoke at the virtual event for mentors and mentees and referred to the event guidelines: “One speaker per group is to share a clear idea of what the experience offers for the new group of participants in 2022.”
In its first edition, the program set out to foster links through frequent meetings designed to help women working in the company acquire tools for their professional development, while the mentors talked about their own realities in different geographies and settings.
"Close contact with someone from senior management who’s not your direct boss is an excellent way of achieving a better understand of the opportunities at Tecpetrol and how important it is to take the helm in managing those opportunities," highlighted Eliana Jara in reference to the program’s benefits. She’s from the Engineering area in Facilities-Operations and added, as a summary of her group’s input that "This year's applicants will find the most experienced mentors," and that if in-person mentoring becomes possible at some point in the future, “this will deepen the bond.”
Motivation among program participants is one of the values highlighted by Michielle Zurita, head of Commercial Planning in Ecuador, explaining that, “It breaks down hierarchical barriers since we can access directors that we believed hard to reach.” Another advantage she detailed was that more fluid communication channels enable participants to build a macro knowledge of the business and access more information to better manage their work.
Along these lines, Adela Guillaumin, commercial head of the Pesqueria Power Station in Mexico, summarized the conclusions drawn by another group. "We were able to create a circle of trust to chat with someone able to give us a more global vision and to identify improvements in professional development." The exchange, which allows people to expand their professional network, also places emphasis on sharing advice and tips on technical issues and soft skills, and for the mentors, the program is also "a tool which allows us to find out what’s happening on a day-to-day basis."
The links and networks generated during this relationship of exchange were one of the goals set by the program, in addition to the fact that both mentor and mentee offer each other mutual guidance and experience, thus enhancing Tecpetrol's learning culture.
"This program is probably more beneficial for the mentors than for the mentees: my feeling is that I’ve come out of it different to when I started," recognized Horacio Pizarro, Country Manager for Ecuador. He was also keen to point out that he’d developed empathy. "Men don’t have the same experience as women when entering this industry, and you showed us what it’s like through your eyes." This is something that Jorge Perczyk, Director of Planning and Management Control at Tecpetrol, called a two-way flow. "In general, we are an open-door company, but if the exchange doesn’t happen at all levels, as it does in this process, it’s not really happening."
José Feretti, manager of Tecpetrol in Colombia, also found value in empathy. "It’s about fostering trust so that the emphasis is more on how people feel, in a context where your to-do list takes time away from focusing on people," he stressed. "This gives up the opportunity to be open about trust, which can add a lot going forward." Similarly, the Global Director of Operations, Javier Gutiérrez, highlighted: "We don't always have time to get to know the company's employees close-up, often because we don't take that first vital step."
Guillermo Murphy, Claudio Gugliuzza and Ricardo Ferreiro had a similar experience: mentoring women while they were pregnant. “It was quite a challenge,” admitted Murphy, director of Supply Chain. "But this created a channel of learning and appreciation that we wouldn’t have had without such an opportunity," added Gugliuzza, General Director of corporate areas. “It was incredibly refreshing to go through all of these decision-making processes, because women have to put other things into the equation, and it’s eye-opening to see how the company responds to those changes, and also oneself, to see how they are considered.
Both Juan José Mata (Chief Financial Officer) and Humberto Fernández found the experience very enriching for both parties. "Bridging the gap between genders and generations is extremely valuable," said Fernández, manager of Tecpetrol Mexico. "The possibility of having contact with young people who don’t depend directly on us opens up the panorama for us because this is also a cultural crossroads."
Both Daniel Valencio and Jorge Dimópulos will be joining the team for governance in Diversity and were very grateful for the experience. "We think it’s about trying to be gender blind, when in fact, this is not the issue at all," said Dimópulos, director of Strategic Planning.
“I join the group of those who are grateful”, summarized Andrea Rocca, Director of Energy Transition Businesses. "Their points of view and the energy transmitted were very contagious."
One of the main surprises that came out in the conclusions was the sense of empowerment for decision-making experienced by participants. “The program exceeded expectations,” celebrated María Laura García. A new exchange channel has been opened in Tecpetrol.