Meet the Mentors

From guiding youth tackling global health challenges to encouraging young women to choose tech, these Telenor leaders and experts are more than happy to share their knowledge and experience.

Written: May 2019

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We live in a world of flux and almost perpetual technological advancement. In such an ever-changing environment, it’s little surprise that younger generations are hungry for advice from both experts and leaders to find their way in the professional world. At Telenor, we’re fortunate to have countless colleagues who are ready and willing to share their insights and guidance with the next generation. Here we meet four of them, and find out that the learning goes both ways.

Sonam Rani, Mentor for the Girls Create Tech Academy

What does being a mentor mean to you?

I believe mentoring is about helping others to identify their strengths and recognise how to maximize those strengths where the end goal is to empower yourself and your career. If I can help someone along their journey, I consider it an honour as well as a societal responsibility.

What advice would you give a young person considering a future in technology?

In the technology industry, a technical skillset is important. However, the nature of the industry is that the only constant is change. For young people entering the industry, I would recommend to focus on developing both a personal and technical skillset. Enforce a growth mind-set and ensure your ability to go through a learning curve at all stages of your career.

Alanna Solberg, Mentor for the Telenor Youth Forum

What does being a mentor mean to you?

Mentoring for me means providing guidance and support to another person as they strive to reach a personal or professional goal. Being part of this process is extremely rewarding and inspiring, not least because the learning goes both ways. As a mentor for Telenor Youth Forum, I’ve had the opportunity to advise a group of talented young minds from four different countries. They have worked together virtually to develop a solution to a major global health challenge. Contributing to their journey has been an enriching experience, and a true privilege.

What advice would you give a young person considering a future in technology?

Technology is going to impact almost every aspect of our lives, so the opportunities are endless! It’s important to continue to learn, adapt, and gain new skills throughout your lifetime to keep up with the fast pace of technology’s development. Even in this age of automation, machines cannot do everything. A range of human skills will be required, from technological expertise to essential social and emotional capabilities. Consider a future in technology regardless of your background and previous experience.

Elisabeth K. Røynestad, Mentor for the Girls Create Tech Academy

What does being a mentor mean to you?

It means that I can inspire girls to make the right choices for themselves. I have recently been going through this myself. I can, for example, tell these girls that what they are learning now in 9th grade will be useful tools both today as well as in the future. In fact, they can already use this knowledge now in several areas of technology and science.

What advice would you give a young person considering a future in technology?​

Do what you think is fun and cool. Don’t choose money as a motivator, choose knowledge. Always be curious and always ask questions, because there are probably more people wondering about the same things. If you don’t get an answer, don’t stop until you understand it. And finally, never compare yourselves to others: we all learn in different ways and at a different pace.

Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Mentor for the Telenor Youth Forum

What does being a mentor mean to you?

It basically means two things: An opportunity to provide knowledge within areas where I have been around long enough to have sensible contributions to make. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for me to learn from the mentees. In my experience they give as good as they get.

What advice would you give a young person considering a future in technology?

Basically – to go for it, but if you have the inclination, augment it with a bit of art or design. The combination will be unbeatable. I also believe that even if your goal is to become a future CEO, a solid basis within tech is key. Technologies such as AI will be pervasive, and understanding enough of how it actually works to correctly design your business model and organisation is going to be fundamental for every future leader. Finally, building stuff and solving problems with technology is creative work, and lots of fun, so why wouldn’t you want to do it if you could?