Sanofi - Mentoring Women Business Owners

Feb 16, 2012 9:20 AM ET
NJ Association of Women Business Owners - Meeting at Sanofi US.jpg

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) February 16, 2012 - Owning a small business in today’s economy requires perseverance, savvy and optimism – with guidance from a trusted source an added plus. This is especially true for women, who are underrepresented among small business owners. To provide such guidance, Sanofi US and several other corporations have been participating in the 2011 Corporate Supplier Diversity Mentoring Initiative with the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners.

The program benefits both women small business owners and the companies: It is designed to advance the development of women-owned businesses and introduce companies to these female entrepreneurs, increasing their business diversity. In January, after a half-dozen formal mentoring sessions and upon conclusion of the pilot, Sanofi US hosted a wrap-up meeting at 55 Corporate Drive for all the participants.   Each participating company hosted a mentoring session, during which the women who were mentored practiced 30-second elevator pitches (brief presentations about themselves and their business), received training on business and supply chain-related topics and attended information sessions about the host company.   “This program provided women small business owners an opportunity to network with each other and to interact with Sanofi US and the other corporate participants,” says Kathleen Castore, Manager, Corporate Initiatives, who served as the mentor during the program.  “It also provided them with leadership training, business education and Request for Proposal (RFP) response training.”   Among the reasons for our involvement in the mentoring program were to gain a more diverse supply chain and possibly do business with a mentoree’s company, as well as to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among the women small business owners. “We have had a great opportunity to mentor and work with some dynamic, diverse, innovative, professional and creative women through this process.  Developing and increasing their skills and capacity will lead to future women-owned suppliers we may be able to incorporate into our supply chain,” says Kathleen.    The Final Training Meeting at 55 Corporate Drive
During the mentoring program’s last meeting, Christophe Cailleaud, Vice President, Head of North America Procurement, welcomed the group with opening remarks.  He followed up with an informal discussion on how Sanofi US can further understand and assist small women-owned businesses in the challenges they face, particularly in navigating a large corporation’s stringent strategic sourcing process.   Christophe also confirmed the company’s continued support for the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners and the mentoring initiative. “Considering the ups and downs of the economy, fast-paced changes in technology and the unique challenges women business owners face today, our mission to encourage women's economic independence through business ownership is more important than ever before,” he said.   SANO21060