Helping women into leadership roles

Country: Germany

Impact Area

  • Nutrition
  • Water
  • Rural Development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Compliance
  • Community engagement
  • Gender balance & diversity
Oct 23, 2015, updated October 2015

To help more women move into leadership roles, Nestlé Germany has been taking part in a cross-mentoring project since 2007.

The project encourages the career development and personal growth of key female employees, allowing Nestlé to benefit from greater diversity at leadership levels – a key step in improving diversity throughout the organisation and promoting sustainable growth.



Since Nestlé joined the project, it has seen several women move into their first leadership role with many others taking their next step on the leadership ladder.

Programme description

Every year, five to six women from Nestlé Germany join a cross-mentoring scheme to support their professional and personal development. The scheme gives them access to an experienced mentor who is a leader from another company, such as SEB Bank, Frankfurt University Hospital, Deutsche Bahn or Deutsche Börse. While all mentees are female, mentors can be male or female.

Nestlé participants go through an internal selection process and the programme is linked to their personal development plan. After completing a detailed profile form, successful nominees meet with a project coordinator who gets to know their specific needs before selecting their mentor. This matching process helps ensure everyone gets the most from their mentoring relationship.

As well as holding mentoring meetings throughout the year, participants can also attend targeted seminars, networking events, peer-to-peer coaching, and feedback sessions. There are also several events where mentees and mentors can get together and network. Participating companies take turns hosting these events.

Value to Society

Supporting more women into leadership positions presents the working world with more female role models and encourages more companies to support diverse leadership. It also helps to change cultural norms and ensure that society benefits from more diverse and robust thinking from a range of companies and institutions.

Value to Nestlé

Helping more women into leadership positions within Nestlé helps creates a culture that embraces diversity, making us a stronger organisation for the future.

Next Steps

  • Following our success to-date we will continue our participation in the Cross Consult cross-mentoring scheme.
  • We are currently reviewing how we can further increase the impact of the mentoring project internally. For example, we are looking at making each woman who has been through the programme a mentor for a more junior female within the organisation.