Having set the goal of 25% female fulfilment of its leadership roles by 2023, leading global logistics provider GEODIS has established an employee Mentor Program as part of its drive towards diversity. To mark International Women’s Day on 8th March, GEODIS reports on the progress of the Programs. Only 13% of senior leaders in the logistics industry as a whole are women. This is despite females scoring higher in leadership competencies than men, according to a Novosensus survey1 in 2020. “The logistics industry urgently needs a greater degree of gender diversity and inclusion to recognize, reward and profit from the talents of its female workforce and to improve its record of attracting women of superior ability. The industry’s image is one of traditional male leadership, lack of upward mobility for women and unattractive to aspiring young females,” says Mario Ceccon, GEODIS’ Group HR director. GEODIS is committed to contributing positively to gender equality and increase the number of women in leadership positions. Its own progress in this regard has seen levels of 13% in 2017 grow to 18% currently and the drive to 25% by 2023 will continue. Through its GEODIS Women’s Network (GWN), mentor Programs have been evolving in regions across the globe over the past four years. The GWN has three pillars that support its activities: career development and mentorship; inclusive leadership and connecting people. The Mentor Program builds on the first of these pillars. Each mentee has a mentor from within the company assigned to them for the duration of the Program. They engage over a series of informal and more formalized sessions during which inter-action is consistent in being constructive, confidential, respectful, open-minded and frank. In the Americas region a pilot was established in 2018 to trial a Mentor Program in partnership with the professional development experts at Dale Carnegie. The Program has evolved in content and has grown in numbers of participants across the US, expanding into the Latin American organization for this year’s schedule starting in April. In 2021, there will be a total of 218 teammates involved, both mentors and mentees. Gerri Commodore, Senior Vice President New Business and GEODIS Women’s Network America’s Chairperson comments on the development of the Program, “Based on feedback from those involved in our 2019 Program, we made significant changes last year. Our mentors and mentees wanted more structure and tools to help them. So, we partnered with Impacting Leaders, a leadership consulting company and introduced the Style of Influence (SOI) assessment. This measure focuses on the natural way people would influence others.” The response from mentors and mentees based on these changes, was overwhelming praise for the program and an increase in applications to participate this year. “This year we are employing a new format to complement the original. This entails 29 of the mentees working in small groups. Each will focus on practical applications of our ‘5 Core Competencies of a Leader’ in order to further develop their natural leadership style” adds Gerri. In the Asia-Pacific (APAC), GEODIS Australia-New Zealand (ANZ) team launched their Program in September last year, with a schedule of activity set through to July. With the benefit of lessons learned as the Program develops, it is planned to roll it out across the GEODIS APAC region over the balance of the year. Stuart Asplet, Managing Director, Pacific Region, the main sponsor of the Mentor Program comments, “We are seeking to understand the goals of our mentees and support their potential development within the company. Although the first twenty-five are all women and drawn from the ANZ region, the Program, is open to male employees. A key goal of the program is to engender a feeling of empowerment, of being noticed, valued and develop confidence.” A ‘6 Steps to Success’ framework has been designed for the ANZ Program running over the ten-month period. After initial training sessions last year, Mentee Networking Events and mentoring sessions are regularly underway. Feedback indicates that 98% of the mentees have found the structure engaging. “Gender diversity is not only a social necessity but also a corporate responsibility and a sound business policy. Empathetic leadership that balances the sensibilities of all genders brings greater understanding of all human inter-action and hence value creation for employees, customers, suppliers and business partners” concludes Mario Ceccon.