Whether you’re looking to network, develop new skills, or learn about a new culture, mentorships are a great way to connect with others and grow as an individual. The power of mentorships is that they often impact both sides – the mentor and the mentee – leading to a very fulfilling experience for everyone. Caio Malufe, a senior manager in corporate development at Cargill, recently joined the Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) mentoring program and was paired with Beatrice Githinji, the access to finance manager at Initiative for Smallholder Finance Advisors (ISF).
At ISF, Beatrice is responsible for assisting clients in the Alliance for Inclusive and Nutritious Food Processing (AINFP) program, supported by TechnoServe and USAID, acquire capital so they can fund projects related to improving nutrition. “My drive is to create a positive impact in the agriculture sector by improving access to finance for value-chain players,” Beatrice said. “The agricultural sector across the region is very heavily underfunded.” In her free time, Beatrice is a mentor herself. She mentors school children in her rural village to help improve their school performance and use education as a means to fight poverty. “I joined the PFS mentoring program because I want to redefine my career path, improve on other life skills, and learn about other cultures,” she said.
Caio, who joined the PFS volunteer network less than a year ago, has already participated in four projects and now his first mentorship. “I believe that the food and agriculture industry is one of the key catalyzers of impact in the world, and working toward a more equal and sustainable planet is the most powerful thing we can do,” Caio said. “I see Beatrice as someone who is supporting the financing of small and mid-sized entrepreneurs in vulnerable regions of Africa, and this is something dearly important to me. If she can leverage the conversations we have and the capabilities we discuss as a means of doing the job better, that’s what motivates me.”
Although Caio and Beatrice’s mentorship recently started, both of them have already reported learning something new. Caio said, “Our sessions so far have covered topics such as inner exploration, knowing oneself, communications strategy, and how to influence a team, which are all important themes for the work both of us are doing.” “Caio is a good mentor,” Beatrice said, “he has taken the time to understand why I am in this program and then guided the process, creating an amicable environment for the sessions. One of the critical things I have learned is the essence of being conscious and present in whatever I am doing. This has helped me a great deal in engaging with others.”
Beatrice and Caio plan to keep on meeting regularly throughout the year and continue conversations about communication strategies, purpose, professional development, and more. “I am inspired by Beatrice’s sense of purpose, and by the reasons behind her goals and ambitions in life... I do have the feeling that I am the one doing most of the learning at times.”