The traditional “Mentoring Walk” was held in Belgrade on Saturday, November 17th, with the aim of highlighting the importance of women solidarity and the concept of mentoring for the empowerment of women in Serbia. More than 70 mentors, mentees and alumni from the “Share Your Knowledge” program, future leaders and successful women in the field of business, public life, culture and the non-governmental sector have walked through the central streets of the capital.

Event was continued at the KC Grad (Cultural Center of the City) with the inspirational stories of our guests: Brankica Jankovic, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality and our mentor, Laura Pavlović, Director of the Office for Democratic and Economic Growth, USAID, Lidija Piroški, “Hot Tires”, Dunja Radulov, our alumni and mentor and Katarina Mitić, our program participant.

Opening this year’s closing ceremony of the Program, Svetlana Stefanović, Project manager from the European Movement in Serbia, pointed out that “the mentoring program originated from the needs of girls at the beginning of their career, not only for personal mentoring but also for the support of the group through the promotion of solidarity, good examples, networking “.

She said that 2018 was a sign of cooperation and reminder. Mentoring is a two-way street where we all learn from each other. The essence is not only that the mentors transfer knowledge, but also learn from their mentees.

“We are all on the evolutionary path, and the woman is one of the important pillars of all changes, and support provided by women to women is the support we are promoting,” Stefanovic said.

The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, who is also one of the mentors in the program, pointed to the importance of providing support to youth who began their careers. The role of the mentor in the program for her, she says, is one of her favorite life’s roles, since she was thinking about what she was facing in the period of different challenges. “It was just a lack of models and open doors, when we talk about the elderly and the women I could ask anything,” Poverenica said.

Laura Pavlović, Director of USAID’s Democratic and Economic Growth Office, shared with the participants her story about the challenges she faced in her career and the decisions she had to make. She emphasized that “openness to learning and learning through mentoring is as important as worthwhile work”.

Lidija Piroški, the founder of the auto magazine “Burn Rubber”, shared her greatest challenges she faced and said that only in Serbia you can still expect amazement when a woman does a job that is not “traditionally female”. When asked what a woman is doing in a “male’s job”, the answer is simple – it is an entrepreneurial woman who knows what she wants, Piroški said.

Dunja Radulov participated in the program this year as a mentor, and only two years ago she was also a mentee. In her company she is dedicated to promoting and practicing the concept of mentoring. It has been confirmed that the positive experience of working with a mentor influences mentees to become good and dedicated mentors as well. She shared her dilemmas about the choices we have to make constantly and how to make the right decisions at the right time. “The challenges are always there, and they always come from the next level of progress. Support is important, and in the mentoring program, we all learn and support one another, and that’s a treasure”, said Radulov.

Ten months is not such a long period and when you sit down to split it into pieces you will realize that there are many beautiful and not so beautiful moments, peaks and valleys. Katarina Mitić, this year’s program participant, led the audience through her adventure of 10 months and said that her participation in the “Share Your Knowledge” program was “an unforgettable trip, where so many nice things happened to me that affected me I become what I have been searching for some time now, and this is the best version of myself at the moment in which I exist, since I cannot guarantee for the next moment, I am standing a hundred percent in front of the present”. She added that this is not the end, but the new beginning and that “she was taught by the experience of the last 10 months, we are sure that only better and better things are waiting for us.” “Gratitude, support, understanding, love and joy, with these words I would finish this text, but the series will continue, I am sure of that,” Mitić said.

All mentors and mentees from the 2018 generation were awarded with certificates for successful program attendance, and for a good atmosphere were in charge the girls from second-generation of the Rock Camp for Girls – “Wildfire”, “11 Fists”, “Nothing”, “TNT” and “Disintegration”.

The first “Mentor Walk” in Serbia was organized in 2008 in Belgrade and so far, 15 walks have been held in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Kraljevo, Valjevo and Subotica, with more than 750 participants.

There is an ongoing call for applications for new Generation of mentees. The Call for application is intended for all women who are interested in improving themselves with mentoring support. Call is open until 30th November and all the details are on the program’s page. The program provides special support to women in rural entrepreneurship and Roma women.

The Women Empowerment Program “Share Your Knowledge” is implemented by the European Movement in Serbia, the Embassy of the United States of America, the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Erste Bank.