For a young person, the power of having someone neutral to talk to, who really listens and actually hears them, is extraordinary. The Raise village wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the dedication and commitment of volunteer mentors like Pieter Reede, Account Director at Salesforce. Pieter was kind enough to share his mentoring moments with us.
Pieter learned about Raise’s In-School-Mentoring-Opportunity (ISMO) through a colleague and attended a Raise information session that was held at his office. He had accrued more than a weeks’ worth of volunteering time through his employer, Salesforce, and decided it was time to take the opportunity and make an impact.
“I saw this program and I really liked it,” Pieter says. “It’s just a couple of hours a week, it’s a structured program and I could make a difference to a young person in the community.”
Salesforce provides the platform to let its employees participate in the Raise program through the 1-1-1 model of integrated corporate philanthropy that Salesforce has since day one of its existence: giving 1% of Salesforce’s product, 1% of its equity and 1% of its employees’ time to philanthropic causes and the non-profit sector.
The mentoring match
When Pieter met his mentee for the first time in the initial program session there was an immediate connection. The qualified counsellor who supervised the mentoring program picked up on this and immediately matched them.
Pieter describes his mentee as an incredibly kind person who was struggling with confidence, finding it difficult to stand up for himself and set boundaries. He had to help out at home a lot, which he found overwhelming at times.
A mutual relationship based on trust and empathy is at the heart of mentoring. Throughout the program Pieter and his mentee worked through various activities and frameworks, which empowered his mentee to stand up for what’s important to him.
The difference Pieter made
Research shows that quality mentoring greatly increases a young person’s confidence and self-respect. At the end of the 20-week program Pieter noticed a positive change in his mentee’s behaviour.
“You could see it in his eyes, you could see it in his body language,” Pieter says. “He was standing straighter, he was confident, he spoke for himself and talked more about the happy moments in life, rather than the unhappy moments.”
For Pieter, it was nice to get the acknowledgment that he’d made a difference to this young person. Pieter’s mentee benefitted from having him as a neutral positive role model in his life.
“It made me warm inside and smile,” Pieter shares. “I am just so grateful that I could have that time with my mentee and that my experiences and skills made a difference.”
The benefits for Pieter
Raise has helped Pieter improve his active listening skills. “With a business conversation there’s sometimes no immediate impact, but with a personal conversation the person sitting next to you is opening their heart and mind to you. There’s listening as in ‘you listen’ but there’s also active listening where you really, really absorb and seek to understand the other person and I think that’s key for me because it’s so personal.”
“I have also learned a lot about coaching and mentoring. Talking to someone carefully so that person goes away with a new point of view,” Pieter shares.
Pieter found that the skills he gained through the mentoring program can also be applied to parenting his son as well as to his professional career.
Pieter is set to mentor with Raise again this year. “It’s an amazing way and opportunity to spend your time in an effective, impactful manner,” he states. “It benefits the mentee, but you also benefit as the mentor.”