Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Most Powerful Women answer Obama's call

March 2, 2009: 2:10 PM ET

On Friday, I left you with a promise: that I'd find something new and proactive to do to answer President Obama's call to "responsibility"--which seems to be the buzzword of his Administration.

I found my "to do" this weekend--but before I tell you what I decided on, let me share briefly what I spent yesterday working on. Carrie Welch, my onetime Fortune colleague and former Most Powerful Women Summit co-chair, and I spent six hours at my apartment in Manhattan selecting young women from across the developing world to participate in this year's Fortune/U.S. State Department Mentoring program.

If you read Postcards regularly, you may know about this amazing program. Launched in 2006, it brings rising-star business women from developing countries to the U.S. for the month of May to shadow Most Powerful Women mentors. Carrie, who is now an SVP at the International Rescue Committee, and I chair the program.

This year's mentors, all participants in the annual Summit, include CEOs Andrea Jung of Avon (AVP), Susan Whiting of Nielsen Media Research, and Ann Moore of Time Inc., Fortune's parent. Other 2009 mentors include: Ernst & Young Global Vice-chair Beth Brooke, Wal-Mart (WMT) EVP Linda Dillman, CARE USA CEO Helene Gayle, DuPont (DD) Group President Diane Gulyas, Dow Chemical SVP Julie Fasone Holder, Fidelity Personal Investing chief Kathy Murphy, bank-industry analyst Meredith Whitney (out of Oppenheimer and on her own!) and the most senior women at Accenture, American Express (AXP), Exxon Mobil (XOM), KPMG, and Skadden Arps.

Goldman Sachs (GS) managing director Dina Powell had the idea for the mentoring program four years ago when she was an assistant Secretary of State, working for Condi Rice. Now Dina is a mentor herself and the force behind a Goldman Sachs/Fortune Global Women Leaders Award given annually to an alum mentee who has returned home and "paid it forward" most effectively in her own country.

More about this in upcoming Postcards. But right now, I owe you my own "responsibility" pledge. Realizing that desiring kudos for a job well done is a trait we all share globally (and we sure need kudos these days), I'm promising to contact one mentee each week. The idea is simply to check in, ask how they're doing and tell them that we're thinking about them. If they're in Zimbabwe or Afghanistan or the Middle East and need prayers, we'll do that for them.

If you're thinking now that Fortune is now in the business of helping the best and the brightest business women in developing countries, well, you're right. But these are unusual times. And we're all doing things outside our job descriptions. Since this mentoring has now involved more than 100 mentees in 35 countries, reaching them all will take a couple of years. On on!pattie-signature

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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MPWomen go Global

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership brings rising-star women from countries around the world to the U.S. for three-week mentorships with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit - among them Ursula Burns of Xerox, Laura Lang of Time Inc., Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Tory Burch.

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