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What Motivates the World’s Most Powerful Women to Mentor

August 25, 2017, 12:00 PM UTC

This spring 21 women from around the globe traveled to the U.S. to participate in the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership.

In its 12th year, the three-week program matches women from countries ranging from Argentina to Zimbabwe with some of the top female executives in the U.S. This year’s mentors hailed from companies including Fidelity, Mastercard (MA, +0.34%), IBM (IBM, +0.12%), Accenture, S’well, and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, -0.89%).

Non-profit Vital Voices helps runs the orientation and debriefing piece of the programming and stays connected to alumnae when they return to their home countries.

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A few of this year’s mentors shared why they participate and why the program is important.

Molly Ashby, CEO, Solera Capital: “The reason to do this is because of the intensity of the experience they bring. The difficulty by and large of the circumstances they come from are not something you get if you’re us every moment of every day. And it just makes you more of a real person and it makes you more compassionate and more understanding.”

Roxanne Taylor, chief marketing officer, Accenture: “As someone who wants to always make sure that I’m helping young women succeed in business, I think it’s very, very important that you make time to coach and mentor others.”

Shelley Diamond, chief client officer, Y&R: I think this mentoring program is very important because it gives these young women an opportunity to spend a length of time here. So when they go back to their countries I think they have a sense of confidence, I think they have a sense of what their expectations should be of themselves and, also in some cultures, to face their limitations.”

Gladys Kong, CEO, UberMedia: “It gives both sides the opportunity of being a mentor and a mentee to learn about a culture that’s different, the common challenges in starting a business, but also the differences in running a business.”

Kasha Cacy, CEO, Universal McCann U.S.: “Building strong women and having those women take leadership roles is in part the answer to some of the problems we have. So I think this is a really important program, and I think connecting women around the world is going to be hugely beneficial for all of us.”

Mei Xu, CEO, Pacific Trade International: “The sustainable growth comes from the participation of women in the workforce. They’re underutilized and they want to work and they have great talent but they have no organizational skills and they don’t know how to access market, so I think that’s what this whole program is about.”

Stay tuned as we continue to highlight more of the program’s mentors and mentees. Click here to see the rest of the series.