Ivy Exec Mentor Spotlight: Cara Williams


cara williams-crop1Mentor Spotlight:  Gayle Rigione, Ivy Exec’s Chief Content Editor and Mentorship Program Manager, recently interviewed Cara Williams, Global Head of Wealth Management and Technology Solutions, Mercer-Investment, based in London.  Ivy Exec launched the Ivy Exec Mentor Network in May of this year, and Cara has been a frequently requested mentor since the program’s inception.  As an Ivy Exec member and active mentor for the program, Cara has helped many Ivy Exec community members think through practical solutions to pressing career challenges.

Gayle Rigione: What is your mentoring philosophy?

Cara Williams: As a mentor, particular one not affiliated with a protégé’s employer, I feel I should provide honest feedback and views about the information a protégé provides me.

Gayle RigioneWhat 3 words best describe your mentoring style?

Cara Williams: Honest, direct and realistic

Gayle Rigione: What do you enjoy most about mentoring?

Cara Williams: Learning from the protégé’s experiences and knowledge. The fact that we often do not work in the same industry pushes me to think more broadly. The feeling that I may have been able to shed additional light onto a situation or challenge is particularly gratifying.

Gayle Rigione: What is most challenging about mentoring?

Cara Williams: My goal as a mentor is to provide actionable insights protégés can use constructively. Many of the protégés on Ivy Exec have great experience and have accomplished a lot.  Before a session I am sometimes uncertain how I can provide additional insights they can put to good use, but then ideas surface from the back and forth exchange during the session and we both gain from the collaboration.

Gayle Rigione: What do you consider when deciding whether or not to mentor a person?

Cara Williams: I try to assess what specific guidance they are looking for to see if I feel I could, at the very least, act as a sounding board. I do not ever expect to be able to solve their problem, but if I can provide additional new viewpoints, then I feel as if I may be helping them arrive at their own solution.

Gayle Rigione: When you meet, what are your expectations of your protégés?

Cara Williams: I need them to bring me quickly up to speed on where they are in their careers and what they hope to achieve next, before delving into their specific mentoring question.

Gayle Rigione: Where do you find inspiration in your own career?

Cara Williams: Working with my team and other colleagues. The greatest value any firm has is its employees, and I am very lucky to work with some of the best and the brightest in the financial industry.

Gayle Rigione: What impact has mentoring had on your career?

Cara Williams: I have benefited greatly from having two in-firm mentors. They have provided insight and honest views that sometimes differ from my perspective, and it has helped me immensely in my approach to situations at work. I genuinely feel the benefits I have enjoyed from having mentors continue to reinforce my interest in providing whatever mentoring I can through Ivy Exec.

Facing career hurdles? Get one-on-one guidance from seasoned executives with the The Ivy Exec Mentor Network.

The Ivy Exec Mentor Network is a powerful, community based mentoring program designed to provide career guidance to aspiring professionals who find themselves at a career crossroads. Mentors are Ivy Exec members with 15 to 20+ years of experience who volunteer their time and expertise to help other Ivy Exec members resolve serious career challenges. This unique program is global in scope and promotes broad based networking — across national borders, industries and generations — between members of Ivy Exec’s exclusive professional community. Ivy Exec – intelligence @ work… Want to know more about Ivy Exec? Check out our CrunchBase profile or interact with us on Facebook



About the Author

Gayle Rigione is Ivy Exec’s Chief Community Development Officer. Gayle spent 15 years in diverse relationship management and senior management roles at MasterCard International, Arthur Andersen Strategic Services, and Bankers Trust Company. She earned her MBA from Columbia.