Last year, I had the great opportunity to participate with a group of colleagues in the "Reverse Mentoring" pilot program, an initiative launched by Citi Latin America that turns undergraduate and graduate university students into mentors for our senior executives for a few months.
One might wonder why the mentors in this program are students. Traditionally, mentors have more experience than their mentees. However, in a world where technology is constantly evolving, and the Millennial Generation is at the forefront, the traditional mentor/mentee relationship is shifting. It was through this program that I was assigned as a mentee to Gabriel Perez, a young Colombian - and globetrotter - who is studying for his MBA at the University of Miami.
From our first meeting, we established a dynamic that turned the program into a positive learning experience for both of us: flexibility, openness and transparency were always our mottos.
Over the eight months of the program, my goal was to better understand the Millennial Generation's perspective on banking and technology through Gabriel's eyes. It was interesting to confirm the pervasive and constant use this audience gives to social networks, as well as to discover the many purposes, from personal and social to professional, for which they use them. We also explored the facilitating role banks play in helping Millennials meet their personal goals. This confirmed for me the enormous importance of this group for Citi, as we work toward becoming the world's digital bank.
On a professional level, as a manager and leader, this program has allowed me to appreciate that open and frank dialogue, direct communication and a personal approach are essential when working with the Millennial generation.
I highly recommend this experience, and I hope the program continues to grow and benefit both Citibankers and young mentors.