Four Successful Women Who Benefited From Mentorship

Successful Women Who Have Benefited From Mentorship“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires,” said the writer, William Arthur Ward, on mentorship. Yes, a good mentor’s guidance and encouragement can be invaluable to success. Mentors give opportunities to mentees to reflect on their own goals and continue their professional development. Consider the following successful women who have benefited greatly from mentorship and who attribute their success in life to their mentors.

Sally Singer has been instrumental in the development of Vogue magazine where she worked as a fashion news director. She then became editor-in-chief at T: The New York Times Style Magazine. She later returned to Vogue as a creative director, overseeing the web version of the popular publication. Sally attributes her success to three female mentors: “The first is a woman by the name of Margaret Simmons of Travel Holiday magazine…the biggest lesson I learned from Maggie, was to have incredibly high standards, and to never think you have to compromise…the second is Sara Bershtel…she was an editor at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux…the interesting and important lesson she taught me was that you have to be able to think horizontally…third is Anna Wintour. She has taught me to always be true to myself; to fight for what I see.”

Anglo-Scottish actress, performance artist and model, Tilda Swinton, also circumvented the challenges of being a woman in the film industry through the lessons she learnt from her mentor. Her success as an actress is evident from her nomination for her roles in mainstream movies such as The Deep End and Michael Clayton, in addition to her successful collaborations with fashion designers Viktor & Rolf. Of her mentors, Swinton recalls: “My tutor at university was an ancient lady with a beard, Margot Heinemann. She taught literature and was an amazing intellectual. When I’d go to her and say, ‘I haven’t done my essay,’ she would ask, ‘Why not?’ And I’d say, ‘Well, I’d been busy doing this.’ And she’d say, ‘Write an essay about what you’ve been doing.’ She was a really cool woman, and a wise woman.”

Somalian fashion model, actress and entrepreneur Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, (professionally known as Iman), has been a pioneer in the field of ethnic cosmetics. Her rise to the top of this industry was a result of the role her mentor, Rose Marie Bravo, current vice chairman at Burberry, played in her life. Iman says: “I’ve always believed that women should find other women to mentor them. She’s mentored me through every move I’ve made with my cosmetic company. She’s told me what not to do, and when I needed to meet people that might be influential for me, she introduced me. It’s been amazing.”

Current CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, steadily rose to become a successful business woman from her humble beginnings in Wisconsin. Being a female computer scientist in a male dominated industry was not easy, but she overcame this challenge and became Google’s 20th employee in 1999. She attributes listening as a key skill for being a good leader, a skill she learnt from her mentor, Eric Schmidt. Her mentor was the former CEO of Novell and is the current Executive Chairman of Google-owned Alphabet Inc . He taught her that her “job as an executive is to set a vision, listen to the team and get things out of the way so they can run at that vision as fast as they can.” Following her mentor’s advice, Mayer made listening to her employees a top priority and this helped her become the effective and successful leader she is today.

These women have risen to the top of their respective industries through the inspiration they received from their mentors, all of whom helped each to harness their skills. As Paulo Coelho writes in The Witch of Portobello: “What is a teacher…someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows”, mentors inspire individuals to realise their full potential. At Behind Closed Doors, we recognise the importance of helping women find suitable mentors and thus are committed to finding the right mentor for you. We’ll be happy to address any questions you may have regarding mentoring, programs and membership.

Tell us about your experiences with mentoring, good and bad.


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National Business with SA Head Office Steps Out From Behind Closed Doors Into US Market

Donny Walford, Managing Director, behind closed doors

Donny Walford, Managing Director, behind closed doors

National business with head office in South Australia, behind closed doors, will cast a footprint in the US this year after securing funds from the Department of State Development‘s Export Partnership Program to launch their successful professional development, mentoring and networking model to businesswomen in Florida.

The Export Partnership Program provides funding assistance for small and medium-sized businesses to access new global markets through marketing and export development opportunities.

behind closed doors (BCD) Managing Director, Donny Walford, will attend the International Women’s Forum 2016 World Leadership Conference in Chicago September 28-30 and hold introduction sessions to BCD with in-country facilitator Lisa-Marie Jenkins.

“Competitive analysis indicates that there are no programs as comprehensive as BCD in the USA and we look forward to bringing our offering to the market.” Ms Walford said. “behind closed doors gives businesswomen an experience like no other, the all encompassing membership offers group mentorship as well as access to a community of facilitators and members who become your Sponsors.”

With more than 800 attendees expected at the conference, BCD will have an opportunity to network with influential women from not only the USA, but across the world.

Modifications to marketing and online materials enabling the Australian business to connect with the US market have been put in place, an introduction to BCD session will be held in Florida on October 3, 2016.

For furether information about behind closed doors activities in the USA visit


Media contact: Penny Reidy, tel: +61 401 349 791

5 Women Who Achieved Entrepreneurial Success in Male-Dominated Industries

Women Who Achieved Entrepreneurial SuccessWomen entrepreneurs tend to be stereotyped as being successful in businesses that are either in the line of fashion or baby products. Although women have enjoyed success in these fields, they have also proved their mettle in many other areas. Some of these include Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Industrial Manufacturing and Venture Capitalism. These industries have conventionally enjoyed popularity with men and are hence male-dominated. However, how do you define a job as being male-dominated?

The United States Department of Labour states that a “non-traditional [male-dominated] occupation for women is one in which women comprise 25 percent or less of total employment.” Entering these industries is not simple. This is not because women have lesser capabilities in these sectors but because of the societal mindset that labels women as being unsuitable for these industries. An article in Askmen described the term as “A male-dominated industry is like an unofficial boys’ club with a “no girls allowed” sign on the front door. Sure, you’ll find a girl in the clubhouse once in a while, but they’re usually stared at, and her presence is a topic of conversation simply because she’s there.”

Despite the stereotypes they face, women today are slowly foraying into these industries. We have compiled a list of the five exemplary women who have demonstrated that gender is irrelevant to achieving success, by creating successful enterprises through innovative products.

Helen Greiner – CEO of CyPhy Works
The first entrepreneur on our list is from the world of technology. Helen Greiner is the co-founder of ‘iRobot’. The company is famous for its ‘Roomba’ line of vacuuming robots. The company also supplies the U.S. troops with thousands of ‘PackBot’ robots that can detect and dispose of explosives. Her newest company ‘CyPhy Works’, creates top-notch drones for photography, inspection and reconnaissance and is currently exploring aerial robotics as well. The initiative has attracted $22 Million in funding from Bessemer Venture Partners proving that not only does her company have potential, but also has a great future with a talented CEO at its helm.

Sarah Krauss _ Founder of S’well
Our next entrepreneur, Sarah Krauss, has taken the number one slot in the list of 50 fastest-growing women-owned or led companies put together by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO). She has created a line of designer bottles called ‘S’well’ that can keep liquids hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours. S’well has contracts with Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and Starbucks. The company has also seen its revenue grow from just under $10 million in 2013 to $47 million today, proving that she has definitely struck a chord with her clients.

Manisha Raisinghani _ Co-founder of LogiNext Solutions
Manisha Raisinghani founded LogiNext with her friend Dhruval Singhvi to help ecommerce and hyper local companies with logistical difficulties. She studied Big Data and Analytics from Carnegie Mellon University and then worked in the field of logistics while working as a consultant for IBM Consulting. Her firm focuses on using the power of big data to map out the best routes for deliveries for clients and predict delays. As a result, her clients do not have to deal with the challenges of maintaining any back end technology. Sixty companies have enlisted their services including big names like Flipkart and Paytm.

Vani Kola _ Managing Director of Kalaari Capital
Vani Kola is another example of a successful woman leader. She started a venture capital investment firm that focuses on the technology sector. Predominantly led by men, research shows that just 4.2% of decision-makers at venture capital firms are female. Not only has she been successful, she has also created a company that has funded more than 50 companies in India. Her goal to create an early-stage venture ecosystem in India has been widely recognised, putting her on the list of the top 10 entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. She was also listed as one of the most powerful women in Indian Business by Fortune magazine in 2014.

Christina Lomasney _ President and CEO of Modumetal
An finally, Christina studied and worked in the field of nuclear decontamination. She also participated in decontamination efforts in Chernobyl and Fukushima before founding ‘Modumetal’. Modumetal manufactures nanolaminated metal alloys that are “stronger and lighter than steel, more corrosion resistant than galvanize, durable than chrome and is redefining metals performance in major industries.” In what would be considered a very male dominated field, Christina has taken her company to new heights. Her vision for her company was strong enough to win over the backing of companies like Chevron Technology Ventures and BP Ventures.

These five women show that the entrepreneurial successes of women are not restricted to the stereotypical ideas of which industry is suitable for them. They prove that women can be successful in any industry sector. Behind Closed Doors applauds them as they defy all stereotypes of what kind of business a woman entrepreneur should be in and inspire women everywhere to do dismiss stereotypes and limitiations.

Donny Walford

Adelaide: 2016 Entrepreneur Scholarship

Nominations are now open for our Adelaide Businesswomen’s Entrepreneurs Scholarship. Go to the behind closed doors website to nominate yourself or a worthy entrepreneurial female today.

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