A few years ago, Caroline Ghosn was working at McKinsey & Company when she noticed that women — particularly Gen Y-ers — weren't asking for as much money as their male counterparts.
“I heard all this research about how women don’t ask for as much as men, and women don’t seek out mentors to the same extent, and then I was experiencing my first few years in the workforce, and I was starting to see these things actually happen,” says Caroline Ghosn, co-founder and CEO.
“It’s one thing to hear them and know that the facts are the facts, but it’s really another to experience them.”
Ghosn wanted to do something about this gender gap so she teamed up with Amanda Pouchot, a coworker at McKinsey & Company, to launch the Levo League, an online community for young women to find career advice, mentors, and networking opportunities.
Ghosn and Pouchot want to bring awareness to young women about how having a mentor can help you, especially at the beginning of your career. On the other hand, having a mentee can also reveal to those who have already been in the work force for awhile what the younger generation is thinking.
“We know from a lot of the research that mentorship is one of the defining variables in differentiating someone who’s moderately successful from someone who’s equally educated and qualified and phenomenally successful,” Ghosn says. “The biggest variable that differentiates those two is access to a mentor. So clearly it’s truly important, and yet people still aren’t asking for this? Why?”
“One of the things we noticed with women is if you don’t see it, you can’t believe it and dream it, and so mentorship is an opportunity to really learn from someone who’s been there before you,” says Pouchot.
Ghosn and Pouchot recently conducted a benchmarking survey of Levo users and discovered that 95 percent of users surveyed had not asked for a mentor at work, but 97 percent said they would be willing to mentor others if asked.
“There’s a gap there that can be solved. And I think it takes awareness and it takes us learning how to behave in a slightly different way than we’re used to. And we hope that technology and social media can help to create that fire,” says Ghosn.
“When we started this, we wanted this to be an open network in the sense that if you’re inspired by someone, you could reach out to them,” says Pouchot. “You want to learn from others, and you want to share what worked well for you and what didn’t work well. The mentorship stories we’ve heard so far from people of opening up their networks and helping is just amazing.”
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