Contributed by ITFA’s Emerging Leaders Committee

If you are familiar with the ITFA Emerging Leaders Initiative, you will most likely by now have heard us talking at length about the importance of mentoring. The trade finance industry suffers from a talent gap and the current leaders of the industry play a vital role in ensuring that the next generation of trade financiers have the knowledge and skills to ensure the continued success and survival of the industry.

But finding time for extracurriculars has never been more difficult. The pandemic has made us all busier (where did January go?) and dedicating precious time to mentor an emerging leader rather than focusing on one’s own career progression may strike you as a poor bet. Yet, if that’s how you feel, your intuition has failed you.

Rather than emphasising once again the importance of having a mentor is to those at an early stage of their career, let’s instead look at how mentoring someone can benefit your own career.

First, by becoming a mentor you establish yourself as a leader in the trade finance industry. You have something to teach and people come to you for advice. Others notice.

Second, you get to reflect on your own career and reflect on what you have learnt. You feel a sense of achievement realising how far you have come.

Third, you will learn. Your mentee will know things you don’t and give you another perspective. They most likely work in a different area of a different organisation. You get a chance to ask questions from a junior member of an organisation. Their counterpart in your own organisation won’t be as frank with you.

Finally, you embrace your potential as a force for good in your industry and make an impact on someone else’s career life and career. They will be forever grateful and you will always know you played a role in their success.

The Martin Ashurst Mentorship Forum will launch again in Q1 of 2022. Please indicate your interest in becoming a mentor by writing to You can learn more about the programme here.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

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