Launched back in July 2020, the WGSN Future Makers mentorship programme partnered 26 individuals with mentors from WGSN, from design and sales to HR and content, drawing on our global pool of knowledge to match everyone with a mentor best placed to help them. Now, as our mentees graduate from the programme, we celebrate their time with us and find out their key takeaway from their experience.
“The programme taught me how to contextualise my objectives, identify my network and to action bite-sized steps in order to make progress towards achieving a goal. It also taught me that sharing information, methodologies and experiences is paramount in making progress as a society. I will continue to freely offer my expertise and knowledge to those who can benefit from it as this method of transferring skills can solve individual obstacles, which makes the entire experience more personal and fulfilling.” – Raeesa Bray, mentored by Cassandra Napoli, Senior Strategist WGSN Insight
“When I received the news that I’d made it into the Future Makers programme, I was over the moon. Yvonne and I clicked from the get-go. To an outsider, everything about us was so different. We were at different stages of our lives and careers; from different cultural backgrounds and of course different continents! Yet, Yvonne knew exactly what I was going through as a young individual just trying to break through her ‘coffee-fetching’ or ‘do-anything’ phase. Her patience, kindness and guidance got me through some of the toughest parts of my undergraduate degree – which became even harder during the pandemic.
My ultimate goal is to empower other young women in the industry along my journey. I wish to impart the knowledge Yvonne and WGSN have given me to others – even if it is just a friendly occasional pep talk. I believe kindness is sorely lacking in the local industry due to scarce employment opportunities and the sociopolitical climate we are currently experiencing. In short, I will always strive to build others up wherever possible.” – Sashenka Naicker, mentored by Yvonne Kostiak, Senior Activewear Strategist, WGSN Fashion
“Everything has a purpose and so did this mentorship programme. My key aim – an upcycling project based out of sustainable fashion – made me realise that we can make use of every small thing we have around us as a part of fashion. I have now become more earthly, my shopping list is more thoughtful as to how it will impact the environment around me. I am proud to say that I am now a responsible shopper…
…This journey is so beautiful, it made me realise I wanted to come back home to myself and my sense of design, and that I had a design process to look forward to. And most importantly my mentor taught me to not be so hard on myself. She let my thoughts flow, gave me the time to put things in place. I hope I was able to make her proud.” – Chetna Sinha, mentored by Liv Barnes, Senior Strategist, WGSN Fashion
“My key learning from the programme was to be open to other job opportunities that come my way. Learning that most of the people from WGSN all come from different background studies and how they took on a job role that wasn’t in their field surprised me, but also made me more openminded to new opportunities. I’m always looking forward to helping the next person succeed. One day I hope to mentor the next generation with knowledge I gained from the wisdom of my mentor to pass down to the next person that’s looking for great advice.” – Jas Thomas, mentored by Sharon Jautz, Head of HR, WGSN
“The mentorship taught me that the fashion/retail/design industry impacts everyone in some way or another. Our industry is a beautiful intersection of involving so many other aspects such as sustainability, data and market research. I love how it connects so many people around the world, regardless of background or culture and this mentorship is the epitome of uniting different people for the love and betterment of the industry. I will try and give a little back to those around me by teaching them what I learned and to help them build connections with people to help further develop their goals.” – Ciara Bell, mentored by Erin Rechner, Head of Kidswear, WGSN
Stay tuned to see what the rest of the Future Makers took away from the programme.