gE4Bucharest was founded 2 years ago by Diana, Dora and Miruna and it has been an amazing journey until now. The team focused on youth education and empowerment and most of their activity involved organising events. All three co-founders are certified eduk8ers, they were used to organizing training events, workshops and they loved in-person interactions. But… a global pandemics happened. So they had to adapt. This article is an interview with all there and it is meant to inspire and motivate other gE cites to share their knowledge and experience with their communities.

Serena: Tell us about the Mentorship Summer Program that you implemented after the COVID-19 pandemics started.

Miruna: So our idea was to organize online mentorship sessions on topics that are familiar to each of us. My month was July and my beloved topic is forever and always entrepreneurship. I went for a 1to1 format and my mentee was Francisca, an amazing ESN member from ESN Unibucharest. The sessions were very personalized so we adapted the agenda for each meeting according to the questions and curiosities that better fit Francisca’s needs. We talked about finding your ikigai, your purpose in life. Then we built together a lean canvas for Francisca’s dream job and we went deeper into real-life steps of opening a company. In the last session, we actually celebrated the progress and we had some guests to share with us their experiences and personal stories. It was an incredible adventure for me and now I will let my colleagues tell you about theirs. But let’s see also what Francisca has to say about it:

“This mentorship programme has been a great chance to do some introspection and get to grips with how to start an entrepreneurial journey. The one to one sessions were really practical and my mentor provided me valuable knowledge and insights about the main steps on how to start a business. Miruna inspired me and showed me that there are other alternatives for “9 to 6 life”. You just have to be determined, learn and work for your dream as much as possible.” (Francisca, July Mentee)

Serena: What about August? Who’s month was it?

Diana: For me, the mentoring sessions held in August were one hell of a ride. Together with Alexandra, a member of ESN Cluj-Napoca, we dove into the basics of social media and digital marketing. This mentorship is very close to my heart, as both me and Alexandra come from similar backgrounds. We discovered we’re from the exact same small town in Romania and majored in the same area at university, so for me it was easier to mentor her, since I had a similar path, both educationally and volunteering-wise. As her primary goal was to understand what marketing was all about, we started with a broad presentation of it, from social media, to content and even a bit of digital marketing. I put together a list of resources for her to use further along: courses she can take up, people she can follow or newsletters she can subscribe to. We also talked about ikigai and how to find her purpose in life and she took a personality test. We finished the mentorship sessions with an online ceremony for Alexandra, together with my gE4Bucharest team members.

Here I can quote some of Andreea’s thoughts: The mentorship with gE4Bucharest was an amazing learning opportunity that allowed me to get some insights from the digital marketing and social media world and managed to spark my interest for this field even more. I am also very grateful to have met Diana who did a great job with our sessions and with whom I discovered to have many things in common. It was definitely one of the best highlights of the summer. (Andreea, August Mentee)

Serena: Wow! It really sounds like an intense experience. I think it was an incredible experience for you as well, as much as it was for Alexandra. What about you, Dora? I heard that your format was quite different from the ones chosen by the other girls.

Dora: For me, the September month of the Mentorship Program was a learning experience as well, considering that I had the chance to also try something new. During the past years, I understood one of the most important things is to know how to ask yourself the questions that will help you find your path. I think most of the people already had, or will have a point in their career when they feel lost, whether it is right at the start or later on. I chose to focus on career mentorship, because I had the feeling that, during my experience as a trainer, I learned more about the importance of asking the right questions, of introspection and self-assessment. We’ve been 4 young people who discussed about their fears, but also about what they are proud of. We took our time to answer questions about ourselves, but also to check what is suitable for us on the job market, following the new discoveries we’ve made. Now I am just looking forward to seeing how my three mentees will reach the stars.

As one of the participants said: This mentorship program has helped me go through a challenging time in my professional life. As a student who just finished their bachelor and chose to opt out of a master’s degree, while focusing on my internship, I was going through a lot of self doubt at the time. Choosing to take the time to participate in this program has helped me understand what I am good at, why the job I have is actually fit for me and how to learn to avoid the impostor syndrome related to my professional life. It also helped me reconsider my professional course and understand what steps I should take and what options I have along the way so that I would achieve success and get a job that would allow me to have a content and peaceful living. I would like to thank Dora and gE4Bucharest for the time and dedication to the program. It has helped me a lot and I wish there will be further installments of it so that more people can benefit from this mentorship. (Stefan, September mentee)

Of course, Octavia added her perspective on this activity: After a study mobility for one year in Bratislava and a couple of months of lockdown, I was completely lost. So this mentorship programme came as a breath of fresh air. Back then I was really in doubt about my future and what I am actually good at. I think the most important thing when participating in such projects is to be as open as possible, because it’s a pity to waste such an opportunity.

I would like to stress out also that the programme not only made me discover some hidden interests of mine, but also gave me the context to hear some motivational stories. In the end, you realise that not everything has to be black or white and that you are not the only one trying to find the right shade of grey. (Octavia, September mentee)

Serena: Thank you very much for your input, girls! I can notice that both you and the participants really enjoyed the experience and it is totally a thing all gE cites should try!

Would you like to know more about gE4Bucharest? Watch the video below!