Campus - 27.11.2018 - 00:00 

"Get Connected"

Get Connected – this is the title of the interuniversity mentoring programme of the LGBTQ* student associations of the ETH, UZH and HSG. The biannual mentoring meeting took place at ETH Zurich last Friday. An article by student reporter Sascha Duric.

27 November 2018. ETH Zurich was the venue of Get Connected last Friday. In this mentoring programme – which is unique at a national level – students are able to exchange views and ideas about LGBTQ*-related issues with experienced professionals from working life, inter alia in connection with their professional careers, and to profit from successful specialists’ and executives’ experience.Besides classical networking, topical LGBTQ* issues, experiences and developments were debated in a panel discussion as well. The speakers invited were Pascal Erlachner, a referee in Swiss top-class football, and Meret Schädler, Financial Analyst at Russell Stover Chocolates, who spoke about their experiences and dealings with LGBTQ* issues in the world of work.

"Young people need role models"

"Young people, in particular, need role models. I myself have learnt a great deal from the few women who, in my youth, went their own way and showed me that it works. Ideally, mentoring is a mixture of role modelling, personal coaching and a substantive dialogue about the questions arising during your studies, among them also all those which concern life around LGBTQ*", says Miriam Meckel, patron of Get Connected and Professor of Corporate Communication at the HSG.

Well connected community

"Being part of the queer community offers great advantages – even though this is virtually inconceivable for many people who have not outed themselves or are still uncertain", says Andreas Oberholzer, mentee and student of Business Administration at the HSG. "In Switzerland, queer executives are part of a very good network, and the Get Connected programme enables young students informal and low-threshold access to this network." What is particularly important in this respect is that the young participants can simply be themselves in Get Connected. In this programme, no one need be afraid of being disrespected or discriminated against on account of the free development of their own gender identity or sexual orientation. "I am convinced that only people who can be themselves and do not have to conceal or keep silent about individual parts of their personalities are able to exhaust their full potential," says Andreas Oberholzer.

Opening up new perspectives

"For me, the key moments are those when a mentee drops their façade and permits an authentic, open look at the issues which really occupy them. If a common basis, trust and understanding can be established in this respect, then this allows for the development of contacts which exceed a mere mentoring relationship and are still going strong years later," says Dirk Schäfer, patron of Get Connected and Adjunct Professor of Financial Management at the HSG.

Diversity drives creativity in companies

"What is crucial is the acceptance of and a respectful attitude towards diverse forms of life. A conscious awareness of the fact that diversity is part and parcel of working life is conducive to all co-workers’ well-being and thus to innovation and creativity in the enterprise," says Christa Binswanger, lecturer and Head of the Department of Gender and Diversity at the HSG.

Sascha Duric is studying for a Master’s degree in Law at the University of St.Gallen.

Photo: Livia Eichenberger

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