Mentoring is an effective method of professional development. It encourages growth and motivation, improves productivity and engagement, facilitates connection between the participants, strengthens the community and collective identity of women, helps expand the network of professional contacts, creates opportunities for cooperation and exchange of ideas and contributes to strengthening self-confidence.

We ran a two-month pilot mentoring programme between February and April 2021, to empower women in the media. Fifteen mentees and six experienced mentors from six countries of the Western Balkans took part. The mentees were matched to a mentor with experience in the media. The mentors offered advice on any challenges but also shared their knowledge, experience and networks to support their mentee. This was an opportunity to learn, ask questions and experience different points of view.

Mentees met with their mentors twice a week to work on personal and professional development goals. The mentees also participated in workshops and consultations to exchange their experiences, reflect on the mentoring process and network with each other.

Meet the Mentors 

We worked with journalists from across the region with experience in a range of media and paired them with mentees from different countries. At the end of the programme we asked the mentors to reflect on their experiences. All of the mentors chose to take part because they wanted to help the younger generation but they also found that they learnt from their mentees.

Valbona Sulçe

Valbona Sulçe is a freelance journalist, media researcher and trainer from Tirana, Albania. She began her career as a political reporter and anchorwoman. She has written and taught extensively on reporting diversity. 

Elira Çanga

Elira Çanga is an experienced Albanian journalist, media expert and trainer. She is presently managing the EU-funded project Media in Focus in Albania and is working on strengthening public service media and enriching the school of journalism’ curricula. 

Marina Riđić

Marina Riđić is a TV anchor, journalist, and communications expert. Her work, currently at Aljazeera Balkans, comprises 3000+ TV shows, interviews, live reports and documentary films and focuses on politics.

Dušanka Duška Pejović

Dušanka Duška Pejović has been a journalist for more than 20 years and is currently employed as an editor - journalist at the Radio Television of Montenegro. For many years  she has worked for international organizations as an expert, consultant, researcher, trainer and analyst in the fields of media and communications, gender equality, participatory approach.

Zaneta Skerlev

Zaneta Skerlev is a columnist, writing weekly columns for newspaper and online sites in North Macedonia, monitors media in the Balkans and formerly the Head of the Macedonian BBC World Service.

Maša Mileusnić

Maša spent nearly 30 years in TV as a reporter, news anchor, editor, correspondent and consultant for media. While she is no longer active in journalism as team leader of the Network Journalists against violence against women, she engages with the media through specific programs and guides for journalists who report about violence against women and girls.

What our mentors and mentees had to say about the programme

Mentee - Vladimíra Dorčová Valtnerová (SRB)

'Žaneta was a perfect match because she is a freelance journalist now, and understands this "entrepreneurial" spirit and that is something important for my career. We achieved big success - I was very uncomfortable speaking English, but with Zaneta I broke the barrier and became unencumbered when I made a mistake in pronouncing or composing sentences - because I felt safe with my mentor and I was not afraid of failure in front of her. It's a matter of trust. I feel safe in this group. And that's crucial.'

Mentor - Žaneta Skerlev (MKD)

'A pleasurable and fulfilling conversations with a smart and ambitious journalist and entrepreneur, who comes from a small village but is fantastic women and a clever, beautiful human being.   Loved getting to know Vladimira better, professionally and probably a bit privately. I am very happy and proud that I’ve managed to be part of her life and assist her in finding ideas and ways and confidence to do things her way.

During the project I was mentored by my mentee - the best feeling ever. It has been by far one of the most important, fulfilling and rewarding experience in recent years.  I loved everything about it, every minute. It wasn’t a chore, it has been a pleasure. Thanks!'

Mentee - Teodora Noveska (MKD)

'I have gained confidence and became more motivated for my work. Duska as my mentor set a whole new horizons for me. I didn't have any expectations from the beginning, it is a first program like this that I am being part of, but I must say - It was a great experience! I am very thankful for the great matching that you did with me and my mentor. And of course, I loved the sessions when we‘re all gathered together to talk.'

Mentor - Dušanka Pejović (MNE)

'We had a relationship full of trust. Often had moments of laughter, joy and conversations in which there is no hierarchy or one who knows less. We analyzed together, learned through practical examples and talked often about our attitudes and values in life and work. I could feel Teodora‘s excitement when we exchanged professional knowledge that she should apply in various forms of journalism, communication with politicians or sensitization about marginalized groups. It was extremely inspiring that there is an age difference between us but our value system is almost identical.'