Paying it Forward: What I Gained from Mentorship

By Ayodeji Megbope

Ayodeji (“Ayo”) Megbope is Chief Executive Officer of No Left Overs, a catering company based in Lagos, Nigeria. Ayo was a participant in the 2013 Fortune/State Department/Vital Voices Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership.   

 

When I was selected to participate in the Fortune/State Department/Vital Voices Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership, I was both shocked and curious. Why invest in women they have never met? Why me?

From the very first session, the answer became clear: this investment was being made in us because we are women who will pay it forward. Because as much as I desired to grow my business, broaden my knowledge and network, and be mentored, after the Orientation Program in Washington, I became equally preoccupied with how I would pay it forward. These ideas were at the forefront of my mind as I anticipated meeting my mentor Dina Powell, President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

A Network of Mentors

As one of the first graduates of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative, this was not my first time meeting Dina and her dynamic team. The program had given me a lot of confidence, and Dina was focused on building on that foundation during my mentorship. I would spend the next two weeks not only shadowing my mentor, but also working closely with her tremendous network of successful female partners, from both within and outside of the firm. I was also afforded several high-visibility opportunities to share my story. For example, it was a privilege to speak on two panels during my time with Goldman Sachs.

Meeting those fantastic women in my mentor’s network, and learning from their critical advice, was an unbelievable inspiration to me. I have become bolder and more determined in my desire to succeed – and to help others succeed.

Engaging the Community

Another highlight of my experience in the Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership was working with the Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks Initiative, a program that allows employees to spend a day out of the office volunteering in the local community. I visited a number of kitchens serving the needy, which was an incredibly rewarding experience.

In seeing this program first-hand, I plan to apply some lessons learned to my social enterprise at home. I currently devote one day a week to feeding those in need in my community. After my mentorship, I would like to develop a more robust structure to No Left Overs’ corporate social responsibility initiatives. My goal is to scale up to make my program more accessible to those who need it, and expand our reach.

The Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership was exactly what I needed to reach the next level in my personal and professional growth. I thank FORTUNE’s Most Powerful Women, the US Department of State, Vital Voices, and Dina Powell for giving me a fresh resolve to make an impact in my community and the world. 

 

Learn more about the 2013 Global Women's Mentoring Partnership participants and mentors.

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