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Let’s Talk Mentoring: with Gyda Ulleberg

We caught up with Gyda Ulleberg, the new Head of the HSMAI Europe Mentoring Programme, to hear more about the programme and her thoughts.

Tell us more about the HSMAI Europe Mentoring Programme?

In the post pandemic era, it’s important to focus on how we can harness our leadership skills and grow to our full potential – both for our own personal development and also for the industry.

HSMAI Europe is expanding its mentoring programme and is now looking for 10 mentors to join our programme from the end of June. This is a 12-month programme open to members of HSMAI Europe where mentors will work with their mentees once a month.

This isn’t a scheme solely targeted at General Managers but many other people working in leadership, operational and executive roles in the industry including revenue and marketing.

The programme has been developed closely with Mike Leven – who as most will know, is a legend and an icon in the industry. His insights on how mentors can coach, improve and empower hospitality industry executives is outstanding and really second to none.

How will you be involved?

I’m working on the final details for the mentoring programme in conjunction with Mike Leven and Ingunn Hofseth. I will then will be working on finding the right match for the mentor and mentee.

Then we will be starting the training before the programme starts in June.

What are the most important skills you need as a mentor?

Undoubtedly one of the most important skills as a mentor is to be able to listen and find what the core needs of your mentee are so that you can support, motivate and inspire them to be successful leaders.

However, the success of a mentoring scheme also comes down to whether there is the right ‘mentoring chemistry’ – there has to be a good fit there too as a good mentoring relationship is based on trust and the ability to create a safe space.

Will you offer training for those wanting to join the mentor programme?

There will be a day’s training for anyone wanting to be a mentor so they feel confident they can approach the mentoring in the right way and that they understand what it entails to be a mentor and I can understand what kind of support they will need from me.

I’m also developing a” tool-box” for mentors. One of the beauties of mentoring is a tailormade development tool based on individual needs. As a mentor you have different roles and use these depending on the needs of the mentees. Some mentees might need a coaching approach, some need a counsellor and a sounding board, while others need a network facilitator or a guardian or a combination of these. So, any mentorship is unique and I would like to develop a “tool box” with different exercises and tools that the mentors can use if they would like to support their mentees in their development process. Some like a more structures approach, some a more flexible approach and I see my role as facilitating both approaches.

During your career, you’ve been involved with other mentoring initiatives – what inspires you/motivates you most?

Ultimately, it’s seeing the transformation take place and executives blossom so they reach their full potential – whether that’s seeing someone in mid management get their dream job as a General Manager or watching someone who started as a receptionist climb the ranks as a manager.

About Gyda Ulleberg

Career highlights

  • 2022 – present: Owner & Founder at By Intent
  • 2017 – 2022 Global HR Director at the Norwegian Refugee Council
  • 2010 – 2017: HR Director Medecins Sans Frontieres
  • 2006 – 2010: HR Director at Scandic Hotels
  • 2001 – 2006 : General Manager at Scandic Hotels
About the Mentor Programme

HSMAI Europe Mentoring Programme

  • Regardless of whether you work on a national, European of global basis and have a lengthy experience in management, the demand for increased competence is on the rise. The industry is changing rapidly, the market is challenging, which is why it is more important now than ever to keep abreast of developments, and continuously improve our skills and learn from others.
  • The program is aimed at all age groups and levels in the industry.
  • A pan-European mentor program working across different disciplines and companies within travel and hospitality can prove to be favourable for mentors and mentees, personally, professionally, but also for the respective companies and for the industry as a whole.
  • No cost for HSMAI Europe members
  • If you are interested in being a mentor or a mentee please contact us at
Contact Us

Send us an email for any queries you have about HSMAI Europe and we'll get back to you, asap.

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