Dušanka Duška Pejović has been a journalist for more than 20 years and is currently employed as an editor - journalist at the Radio Television of Montenegro. For many years she has worked for international organizations as an expert, consultant, researcher, trainer and analyst in the fields of media and communications, gender equality, participatory approach. We asked her about her experience of mentorig young female journalists as part of the Media for All programme:
Tell us more about your role as a mentor in Mentoring Programme for Women in Media in the Western Balkans?
I have twice been a mentor in a mentoring program for Women in media in the Western Balkans. I worked and hung out with 5 mentees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia and Serbia. It is one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! Despite all the difficulties, life is beautiful when you have the opportunity to help young people, to empower them, to support them, and when you see the results of those processes together. In these circumstances, it is not easy to pursue journalism, and the mentoring program gives a wind in the back to young women journalists to more easily face challenges, overcome difficulties and gain additional knowledge. Mentoring is a way of life, a commitment to be there for other people, and to learn from others yourself - to understand them, to help, to respect the needs of others, and to create a common strength to change things for the better! Through support and empowerment, mentoring allows you not to give up, but to always move forward with a lot of will and energy.
Please describe your relationship with your mentee
A relationship with a mentee is always a relationship of friendship, trust and a shared desire to progress in every sense. Getting to know other people through understanding their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and efforts, as well as working together to achieve their goals, is both a self-reflection of ourselves and a deep look at what we are and what we can do. That connection of two people building each other is an immense wealth of our relationships. I think my mentees have confidence in me, that together we seek solutions, learn, build motivation, overcome problems, laugh together, and without hesitation talk about life and professional situations and challenges. I tried not to give advice in advance, but to look at the situation together and come to a solution. We opened many doors together, and looked for the right paths at intersections. We learned together faith in ourselves, ethical norms and true values, and how to always move on after the challenge.
Please describe how you achieved success in a mentoring pair
I think that the greatest success in mentoring is that we managed to support and encourage young women journalists to courageously continue their work and life, despite the numerous difficulties they face. The concrete results are much more self-confidence, motivation, improvement of journalistic skills and, above all, gender-sensitive reporting in various fields, as well as empowerment to solve many problematic situations. When a mentee believes in herself and her abilities, when she is ready to learn and adopt new knowledge, to face challenges, to move forward and to know that she has support and help in that, we know that we have achieved mutual success. As a mentor, I also learned patience, better listening and understanding of others, discovering my weaknesses and learning from mentee. It was an inspiring relationship in which we both grew professionally and humanely, and which we continue after the mentoring process is over.
Have you come up with new ideas, launched new activities, collaborations and/or projects, or do you intend to start them, as a result of networking with people gathered around our programme?
Through the mentoring process, the need to cooperate with others, unite and create networks that will bring together women journalists in an effort to improve their position, fight against gender-based violence and acquire new knowledge has developed. The mentoring process strengthened my efforts to form a network of women journalists in Montenegro and to try to organize mentoring for young women journalists. Thanks to the British Council and mentorship, we are currently in the process of establishing a Network of Women Journalists in Montenegro.
Have your expectations from the mentoring programme been met?
My expectations from the mentoring program were exceeded, thanks, among other things, to the great senior mentors Dragana and Adna. For me, it is a way of life and a way to give a part of myself, my knowledge and experience, to the younger generations, but also to learn a lot from them. Mentoring is the purpose, dedication, inspiration, excitement, wisdom, selflessness, good energy and optimism that we are only complete when we share and give to others.