Malynda Gardner Shares Lessons on Mentorship

Women of Power Matchmaking Mixer mentor on her mentoring experience

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Being mentored is not easy, just as mentoring is not easy. To really get something out of it, you have to be willing to put aside the mask—on both sides.

True value comes from allowing someone, who is at first a stranger, to get a glimpse at all the things you normally work to polish before presenting. Developing strength requires acknowledging your weaknesses.

Along my journey with my mentor, I have found a friend, a coach, a therapist, and a fellow lover of shoes! Below are some lessons we’ve explored on our journey.

  • There is an art to saying no, but there is freedom in that word.
  • Success is never achieved by compromising your values.
  • Maintain a group of peers that tells it to you straight but always from a place of love and empowerment. Constructive feedback is priceless but harsh criticism is worthless.
  • You can’t hold it all—so delegate, your arms will thank you.
  • Work as hard on developing who you are as you do on who you want the world to see.
  • There are times when a good bottle of wine and great listening ears are as important from a mentor as a career plan.

Going to the Women of Power summit was a valuable experience. The connections and knowledge gained there was truly empowering but the support and encouragement that came home with me have been immeasurably more so.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re stranded on an island when trying to work with people who don’t look like you and don’t share your experiences of the world, so I am really grateful to now have some company with me by the palm tree. Most days I leave meetings where I was still the lone African American woman but I now have someone who has been where I am and will help me move forward with a smile and renewed determination when I might be tempted to seek the comfort of the familiar. After all, the only place fabulous and comfortable are a perfect combination is in heels!

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