Creating advocacy while mentoring women to success


At Sainsbury’s we’re taking purposeful steps to achieve improved gender balance at every level through positive initiatives, such as women’s mentoring. Since our CEO launched our women’s mentoring programme at the end of 2015, over 2,000 women have put themselves forward for opportunities. Our women’s mentoring scheme gives colleagues the confidence that we support their career aspirations and help them to achieve their potential, demonstrating that their gender is not a barrier to success.

This scheme isn’t only a great way of developing women to progress more quickly, but when talented women are paired with senior colleagues, it has provided our leaders (male and female) with a deeper insight into the challenges women in our business may experience, as they move up through the organisation.

We’ve also had great success through women’s mentoring circles, in which we bring together groups of talented individuals and apply an action learning approach. The mentor will facilitate discussion within the group, focussing on common development themes and encouraging everyone to contribute with their advice. This provides each mentee with a broader range of perspectives; encourages peer to peer dialogue; helps develop their ability to influence and engage and provides an excellent network.

“We worked on how I could feel more confident as well as addressing technical areas, so that when an opportunity came up in the Store Support Centre (head office), I went for the role and secured it! Mentoring gave me the confidence to put myself forward, try and ultimately succeed”
Charlotte, Field Team Trainer

“I’m a strong advocate of women’s mentoring which has proved really successful in my region. We now run mentoring circles with groups of talented women. I have seen my team grow in confidence and drive gender inclusion across our region. I am also seeing the positive impact this is having on our mentees, with greater numbers of women joining our development cohorts and putting themselves forward for opportunities across the region”
Luke, Regional Operations Manager