Women Mentoring Network: A step forward towards strengthening the role of women in the business sector

The fourth season of the renowned women's empowerment program organized by Addiko Bank Sarajevo and Deloitte BiH is officially open. The project's partner is the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

May 9, 2024

The fourth season of the Women Mentoring Network began with the official opening, showcasing its continued significance in empowering women and enhancing their role in Bosnian and Herzegovinian society. Once again this year, lectures within the mentorship program will take place at the SSST University in Sarajevo.

A hundred women from across Bosnia and Herzegovina, including 50 experienced managers who have achieved outstanding results in various professions and fields of activity, and 50 young women aspiring to personal and professional advancement, eager to actively shape the society they operate in, will come together to exchange experiences and knowledge over the next 5 months, the duration of the program.

Year after year, Addiko Bank Sarajevo and Deloitte BiH collaborate to enhance the program and craft content with the potential to enrich the experience of all participants, providing them with relevant information and practical perspectives.

The fourth season of the program was inaugurated with speeches from the founders of the Women Mentoring Network, Sanela Pašić, Member of the Board of Directors at Addiko Bank d.d. Sarajevo and Professor at the University Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, Sabina Softić, Responsible Partner at Deloitte BiH, and Narine Sahakyan, Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP in BiH. They expressed their satisfaction that the idea of connecting women had garnered broad societal support and that the project was recognized as a catalyst for change.

Since the inception of the Women Mentoring Network, UNDP has been a project partner, and Ms. Sahakyan emphasized the pivotal role of this partnership in supporting women's empowerment and achieving program goals:

"As a proud recipient of the gold standard for gender equality, UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed to women's economic empowerment. Through the Women Mentoring Network, UNDP supports intergenerational knowledge exchange, solidarity, and networking among women in the fight against stereotypes and societal norms that hinder female leadership and career advancement. This commitment is confirmed by the data from the recently published Gender Equality Barometer, which we released in partnership with the Agency for Gender Equality of Bosnia and Herzegovina."

In her opening remarks, program co-founder Sanela Pašić, Member of the Board of Directors at Addiko Bank d.d. Sarajevo and Professor at the University Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, emphasized: "It is our great pleasure to see an increasing number of young, promising women who are at the beginning of their careers recognizing the importance of this project, and also to witness the program being recognized and valued by society as a whole. This year, through excellent, educational gatherings, we aim to impart our knowledge, connect with each other, and motivate young women to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina and contribute to the private sector and the country's economy."

Pašić also noted that they carefully select lecture topics and design the program with equal quality year after year, with the goal of providing training in areas essential for managers, which are not typically offered in conventional university education, such as negotiation, emotional intelligence, business ethics, public speaking, and many others.

Co-founder of the program, Sabina Softić, Partner at Deloitte BiH, added: "The Women Mentoring Network is an indicator of how we can continuously empower young and ambitious women through this program. Over the past three cycles, we have had the privilege of supporting more than 150 young ladies from all corners of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And now, for the fourth consecutive year, we successfully gather a large number of businesswomen who enthusiastically accept our invitation to participate and enjoy sharing their knowledge. I am grateful for the significant support we receive from our long-standing partner, UNDP, and for other organizations recognizing the importance of our program."

Support for the project this year also came from Jasmin Spahić, CEO of Addiko Bank d.d. Sarajevo, who highlighted the following during his speech at the grand opening:

"Addiko Bank Sarajevo implements and supports a significant number of initiatives focused on youth education. It is the youth who bring new ideas, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to empower them in this way and provide them with support. Programs of this nature significantly contribute to the development of the potential of young women, which is extremely important for society as a whole," Spahić stated in his address to guests at the opening.

Support for the implementation of the third cycle of the "Women Mentoring Network" program was provided by: EFSE, UN Women, IFC, UNFPA, and Sarajevo School of Science and Technology (SSST), with Forbes BiH magazine as the project's media partner.