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This article originally appeared in Ideas with Wheels Blog ( LINK)


I have been both a mentor and a mentee and I have had varying degrees of success in both capacities.  As a mentee, I need and as a mentor, I provide support.  This is a simple breakdown but in longterm mentoring relationships there is more blurring of the lines and a weaving in and out of powershifts and support dynamics.  In my preparation for a role as a formal mentor in the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and through expansion of the Invest for the Future Network's own mentoring agenda, I am feeling reflective.

Short-term mentoring relationships - efficient or incompatible

I believe that short-term mentoring relationships can fall into two categories.  The positive ones which exhaust themselves because of their efficiency and the neutral or negative ones due to incompatitibility.  In an efficient scenario, the mentee and the mentor are united to help the mentee through hurdle, obstacle, challenge or general shift in direction.  Once the mentee has found the path, they may feel sufficiently confident in going it alone and do so.  Therefore, the relationship ends not due to any drama but simply because the relationship has run its course.

When I was a teenager and thought about going to college for hospitality my dad found me a mentor.  He owned his own mexican restaurant in NYC and sat with me to discuss the career path and showed me around his own facility and the different departments and staff roles. I could see myself going in this direction and applied to universities that would give me a foundation in business with the opportunity to learn more about service businesses like restaurants.  He helped me make this decision and it was an important step for me but then the relationship served its purpose and was complete.  In other scenarios, as a mentor, I have had thousands of students who I have mentored for projects in courses and when the course has ended so did the relationship.

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Brilliant Entrepreneur

‘Brilliant Entrepreneur’ is a dynamic programme that develops women’s entrepreneurial skills based on their talent through tailor-made workshops and trade missions in the country as well as in The Netherlands.

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This article originally appeared in Dive in Social Blog ( LINK)

Sometimes we have the feeling that academia is not ready to teach entrepreneurship. Rigid structures, vertical relations, grading-biased behavior of students who want to be as efficient as possible to get rid of activities as soon as they can. Tina Odinsky-Zec knows all that, and from her position at Zagreb School of Economics and Management, she challenges consolidated academic practices and tries to change the mindset of students towards entrepreneurship. How? By “getting them to think slower, giving them different creative hurdles to climb, different collaborative exercises in the classroom to make it fun, to make it team bonding and give space to ideas that otherwise would be unspoken”. Her story with socially responsible businesses started when she was 5. “My father had a pharmacy that was born in the same year that I was and I can tell you that as much as he made profit, he have back to community. He was pushing healthy lifestyle. Even though he was a pharmacist, he thought people were overmedicated. He was always trying to balance the business with his mission towards community, so for me it was natural to always look at what businesses were doing for themselves and the community”. In our last talk in Croatia, we had the chance to speak to Tina and understand the dynamics that help shape the country’s new generation of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship-enablers. We heard her thoughts about the local ecosystem, what inspires her, the experience of teaching entrepreneurship in Croatia and the region, the importance of role models in the process and how she manages to “add fun to fundamentals”.

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