“Mentoring gave me a new perspective. And when you do it right—whether as a mentor or a mentee—it’s life changing.”

Those are the words that stuck with me after the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston. I heard plenty of other inspirational speakers that day, not the least of whom was human rights attorney Amal Clooney who spoke to a sold-out crowd of more than 10,000 attendees (fearless, optimistic, eloquent). I also had the pleasure of shaking hands and talking to Des Linden, who won this year’s Boston Marathon…the first American woman to win in 33 years, and she did it under absolutely horrific weather conditions (tiny, powerful, humble,encouraging).

Yet the track that stayed with me was one about successful mentor/mentee relationships. Here’s what I learned:

  • Few professionals have mentors.

When they asked us who has a mentor, only about one-quarter of the hands went up. The benefits of having a mentor in your career are compelling, yet few of us are doing it.

  • We all need door openers.

There’s no shame in seeking career guidance. We should all be looking for mentors who can help us open new avenues of opportunity. “If you’re a rookie, the trap you might fall into is thinking ‘I don’t want to bother anyone by asking to be mentored” or “If I ask for help, he might think less of me.”

  • “Having a mentor is like air.”

“We all need a guiding hand to help explore a broader set of minds. Particularly when you’re starting out, you don’t know what you don’t know. Having a mentor is like air—an absolute necessity to building a successful career.” Think of mentors as your own personal Board of Directors. They’re the people you respect who can help you see a bigger picture that you might be missing, a fresh perspective, more of a macro look at your industry and perhaps someone who can shine a light down a new path you might not have considered.

  • Mentoring is a virtuous cycle.  

“Mentoring gave me a new perspective. And when you do it right—whether as a mentor or a mentee—it’s life changing. It’s energizing to help someone find direction and help them move forward. It’s a very different satisfaction than what you get from a pay raise or a bonus.

The moderator was Laura Okmin, FOX’s NFL reporter. She  credits a mix of mentors who helped her break the barriers of a male-dominated field and ultimately assume the position to cover the biggest names on the biggest stages including over ten Super Bowls.Now she’s paying it forward by helping to train, mentor, and prepare the next generation of women in sports media with her new program, GALVANIZE.

Are You Ready to Embrace Mentoring?

Careers have a funny way of taking twists and turns. And sometimes a new opportunity is the result of a chance meeting or program or event so you have to keep your eyes open. Sometimes a connection with someone who has the wisdom of experience that you haven’t gained yet can make all the difference.

On January 8th, I’m very much looking forward to presenting at a webinar with two people I have enormous respect for to kick off a new Developing Leaders program aimed to further the development of our industry’s future leaders. John Rybak, BB&T Bank’s SVP Environmental Risk Manager and the 2017 winner of the PRISM Industry Influencer award, has mentoring in his blood and is passionate about giving back to the industry he loves. My colleague Roger Caramanica, Ph.D., EDR’s VP of Organizational Development is a wealth of knowledge on mentoring programs and has great connections with leading career development experts. The three of us have been busy these past few months brainstorming on the industry’s first mentoring program to connect those who are motivated to share insights with those who need a jolt of guidance from a veteran. Our new webinar series will bring in outside experts to teach us things we all wish we knew back when we were just starting out.

 The New Year is around the corner. Do you have a mentor? Have you ever thought of being one?

Sign up for our Developing Leaders program kickoff webinar, Rising Stars in 2019, on January 8th and hear more of what’s in store.

If you’re looking to broaden your own personal career development in the new year, join us!

If you’re a newbie nervous about making new connections in our industry, join us!

If you are looking for resources that may help you on your own personal career journey, join us!

All are welcome as we go down this path in the new year together.

Happy holidays!