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Meet the Mentor - Ikram Guerd

👋 Hi there!! I am a B2B Marketing Leader in the Healthcare industry with 17 years of experience in MarCom and product management. I led different marketing teams both in Europe and in the USA and I’m happy to share my mentoring experience.

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

After many years of mentoring and coaching on an ongoing basis, I finally decided to “officially” become a mentor in 2022 after an interesting discussion with my friends about what motivates and drives us.

I truly enjoy the unique opportunity to make an impact by giving back to the community. As I was reflecting back on my experience and wondering how I can contribute to helping others, I found the platform MentorCruise which appeared to be an amazing opportunity to share and give back.

Spreading the word by becoming a mentor gives me amazing opportunities to connect with great and interesting people from all over the world and leverage each other. I’m strongly motivated to pave a way for other future marketing talents and especially women to help them navigate the challenges they can meet. That’s one of the key things that drives me.

How did you get your career start?

When I was young, my dream was to become a pediatrician but my level of science wasn’t sufficient. So, I switched to my other passion which is traveling, I graduated in International trade 20 years ago so I could combine traveling with work because I love speaking other languages, connecting with other cultures, and learning from them.

But then, I had this fantastic opportunity to join Procter & Gamble in Paris (France). That’s really where I have been exposed to marketing through amazing marketing talents who shared their passion with me and from that moment, I became totally converted to marketing. That experience definitely changed the course of my career and gave me the inspiration I needed for what I should be doing for the rest of my life.

After that experience, I completed my education with a Master’s in Strategical Marketing and Communication, then I started my marketing career in the healthcare industry as a product manager for a 2-month contract. Then, those 2 months became 5 years in this pharma company with different marketing roles and responsibilities. And since then, I kept growing moving from pharma to homecare and to Medical Device and Diagnostics in France, Switzerland, Denmark, and finally the USA, which finally gave me the opportunity to work closely with pediatricians in the NICU department in the hospital (the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).

Working in healthcare gives me a strong purpose in helping physicians make the right diagnosis for patients and helping save patients’ life.

Before I know it, it has been already 17 years of an amazing marketing experience in product management, MarCom, and people management.

Through hard work, passion, and support from families, amazing peers, managers, and mentors, I got my chance to get closer to my dream by working in healthcare, marketing, and in a multicultural environment.

If you have a dream, just hold on to it and it will happen one way or another, you just need to be patient.

How do you usually set up mentorships?

It really depends on the goals of the mentees.

I always start by breaking the ice and connecting with the mentees. Asking questions to get to know them, making them feel comfortable, and building trust because it’s the foundation of any relationship and everyone needs to feel safe to discuss openly at any time. And that trust goes both ways of course.

Listening to their needs, expectations, and challenges, understanding what drives them, and what are their passion so you can get the big picture and build together an action plan for upcoming discussions.

At the beginning of each session, we review the goals and expectations to ensure we focus on what is important to cover for each session. This time is really about the mentee who will drive the discussion it to make the most out of it. Together, we will focus on one key topic for each session to leave enough room for feedback and questions.

Mentees usually pick my brain to work together on the following:

  • Starting or navigating a career in marketing

  • Giving feedback on marketing projects, campaigns, and presentations

  • Preparing for interviews

  • Discussing career growth or multicultural experiences

  • Working on the development plan

At the end of each session, we end with clear expectations and goals for the next session and quick feedback on the session to continuously improve if needed.

What’s been your favorite mentorship story so far?

Each mentorship has been so unique that it’s hard to pick one favorite because each mentee brings something. In a summary, I would say that my most rewarding mentorship experience has been to onboard a new team player with a medical background and no marketing and trust him from the very beginning to take over a marketing role for all the other skills he had. Coaching and mentoring this new mentee who was committed to his own growth was the best investment I could make. Every week, mentorship sessions, clear goals, confidence, trust in our relationship, and bounce ideas helped him reach his goal to become a marketer

In the end, my goal was to set him up for success to achieve his growth, and to get him to be my successor which was the most rewarding experience as a mentor. There is nothing better than seeing someone grow in their career over time.

What are you getting out of being a mentor?

Being a mentor is so rewarding. I learn from every connection and discussion I have with my mentees and I truly appreciate it. I love sharing and learning at the same time, my experience as a mentor helps me with my leadership skills being a support to many different personalities and backgrounds, that I can bring back to my team in my organization so I can give them my very best as a people leader.

If I can make even a tiny impact on someone’s life, that will definitely make my day. I want to help other talents, and especially women, by giving them confidence and pushing them to show their full best to be even more successful. It’s an amazing opportunity to leverage each other and to share through my experience some challenges to avoid others to face them or at least overcome them better.

Reflecting back on my career, I’m very grateful to the mentors I’ve met through my journey who helped me be who I am and where I am in my career. Being a mentor is a way for me to give back to the community the same way my mentors did with me.


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