The Context. Slowballisation[1].

Apparently, the golden age of globalization, in 1990-2010, was something to behold. Globalization has slowed from light speed to a snail’s pace in the past decade for several reasons: the cost of moving goods has stopped falling; multinational firms have found that global sprawl burns money and that local rivals often eat them alive; activity is shifting towards services, which are harder to sell across borders: scissors can be exported in 20 ft-containers, hair stylists cannot; Chinese manufacturing has become more self-reliant, so needs to import fewer parts. (Source: The Economist)

Nations are running for the demographic dividend, defined as the accelerated economic growth that can occur as a population age structure matures, given strategic investments in health, education, economic policy, and governance. 

[1] Slowbalisation is a term coined by Adjiedj Bakas, a Dutch trend watcher, in 2015 which describes a reaction against globalisation.

*[ma naa’ki tan ga] – upholding the self respect/authority of others (mana) while growing their capacity. (maōri)

The local context

In Romania we face a shrinkage of the population doubled by a migration phenomenon (Romanians are the second migrating population after Syria). The educational system is obsolete and disconnected by the labor market. The investors looking for intelligent, highly educated workforce struggle to recruit, retain and engage talents and to fast develop them for complex tasks and projects. Our economy is based on real economy (>80%): IT industry, BPOs, (20% of PIB), manufactory, agriculture, services. The workforce structure will give us a perspective of the local context and the potential market of the mentoring programmes, both formal and informal:

Who am I? What do I do? My roles:

            1.Community Builder. THE POWER OF NETWORKing

  • Founding EMCC Romania in 2012.
  • Develop Mentornity, a five years online mentoring community.
    • The Importance of Supervisions.
    • Nurturing a community of business leaders interested to leave a mark on the younger generation.

Fostering the quality of mentoring through competent supervision (Else Iversen, 2011).

2.Me as a Mentor.

According to an ancient Hindu teaching about the stages of life, or ashramas, our lives could be structured in three phases (or ashramas):

  1. The first is Brahmacharya, the period of youth and young adulthood dedicated to learning.
  2. The second is Grihastha, when a person builds a career, accumulates wealth, and creates a family. In this second stage, the philosophers find one of life’s most common traps: people become attached to earthly rewards—money, power, sex, prestige—and thus try to make this stage last a lifetime.
  3. The antidote to these worldly temptations is Vanaprastha, the third ashrama, whose name comes from two Sanskrit words meaning “retiring” and “into the forest.” This is the stage, usually starting around age 50, in which we purposefully focus less on professional ambition, and become more and more devoted to spirituality, service, and wisdom. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop working when you turn 50—something few people can afford to do—only that your life goals should adjust. Vanaprastha is a time for study and training for the last stage of life, Sannyasa, which should be totally dedicated to the fruits of enlightenment. In times past, some Hindu men would leave their family in old age, take holy vows, and spend the rest of their life at the feet of masters, praying and studying. Even if sitting in a cave at age 75 isn’t your ambition, the point should still be clear: As we age, we should resist the conventional lures of success in order to focus on more transcendentally important things.

I could position myself on a timeline at the fresh start of Vanaprastha ashrama, with no intention of retirement, but fully equipped to support people struggling themselves with Grihastha, often my mentees or their leaders. At the cross of two oriental cultures, what I do is to support Manaakitanga1 for young leaders when they transit through their Grihastha.

 “Mentoring is a collection of thousands intergenerational conversations, on the same Beta frequency of thoughts”. (my definition)

3. Me as a Mentoring Programme Manager

The decision to look for a mentoring methodology has been taken after a number of discussions with my organisational clients which failed to implement coaching or mentoring schemes in the past. Either they were following the headquarter models 100% and no customization, or they forget to test and prepare the organisational culture, all of them shared a mutual ground: lack of ownership, philosophy, methodology and missing a proper programme coordinator.

The nature of Programme Coordinator role is seen as “relationship manager who see that the needs of the mentor, mentee and organisation are met” [1].

Typically mentoring programmes phases are: Design, Implementation, Evaluation.

What makes a Programme Manager’s effective?

It depends on the context. Among his/her qualities, skills and competencies: a substantial experience of mentoring (running schemes in a variety of contexts), determination and resilience, energy, thought, [reparation, act quick, problem solver, stakeholder management (persuasion, influence and insight), communicator, marketer, facilitator, project manager (using tools as Gantts, decision matrices, risk assessments, budgets, finance  variation docs, business canvases), understanding self, commitment to self-development and profession development, results oriented, courageous, understanding culture and politics.

As a Mentoring Programme Manager I felt a huge responsibility for doing the things together and produce the promised impact.

Mentoring in Romania. The Power of Storytelling. Millenials, Challenges, Solutions

CHALLENGES (organizational context):

  • Develop leadership competence
  • Address gender or generational imbalance
  • Unemployability and inactive population (including NEET)
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Retention, engagement, performance
  • HR Transformation
  • Digital Transformation
  • Maternity Mentoring
  • Address talent scarcity.


  • Celebrating the Onlyness (Nolifer Merchant)
  • Stay Human in a Digital World (Mentoring Academy Powered by The GCIndex)
  • Creating intergenerational bridges through mentoring and cross generational project teams
  • Next Generation HR.

Instead of Conclusions7 LESSONS LEARNT/ QUESTIONS from my experience:

  1. The importance of allocating resources for mentoring: time, money, competencies (e.g. budget for training of mentors and mentees, a frame for matching, supervision, evaluation);
  2. Does the duration of a mentoring relationship (3-6-9-12-18 months) alter the dynamic and quality of the outcome?
  3. Which brings more value: a JIT ad-hoc informal relationship or an elaborated mentoring scheme?
  4. What is the secret ingredient (trust, confidence, role-modelling) or simply the need to be heard (become significant-other, rely on somebody) in a successful mentoring relationship?
  5. How important is to define SMART goals when the time to challenge comes? Or the different understanding of goals by other cultures?
  6. What is the boundary between being supportive to the mentee and giving space, creating autonomy?
  7. How risky is to mix mentoring schemes with other learning schemes (e.g. include it into a gamified “marathon”)?


Celebrate wisdom transfer – Mentoring International Day and connect within diverse international community, share knowledge and struggle to professionalize the learning interventions as coaching and mentoring.

[1] Murray (2001, p.151)

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