I attended Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit in March of this year. It was a remarkable experience. The Summit reinforced a belief that I have the power to grow and succeed within me—it is within all of us! The bigger question is, what are we doing with that power? There was a mentoring theme throughout the conference and opportunities to connect. The ‘Mentoring Mixer’ was one of many opportunities. I believe no man or woman is an island; success breeds success.
There was a mentoring theme throughout the conference, with opportunities to connect, including the ‘Mentoring Mixer.’ I believe no man or woman is an island; success breeds success.
Mentorship is an avenue to work with someone who will invest their time and energy in you—not only for your work growth, but for your personal growth. I have been blessed to work at Aflac for the past 26 years, where I have had several gurus; leaders who believed and invested in me.
As a leader, I believe it is imperative that I give back and invest in others. I mentor six individuals. I love working with people, watching them develop and advance in their career, as well as helping someone else to do the same. The key point I learned through having a mentor and being a mentor is there is not a “one size fits all” model. A person can be effective in mentoring in one area, but not in another—and that’s OK.
Multiple mentors may be needed. The selection of the right mentor is critical, as there are formal and informal advisers. I suggest an initial mentor discussion should take place, prior to going into mentor/mentee relationship, to ensure the prospective mentor is a good match. Will your personalities work well together? Will this person be honest with you? Will you be able to receive their honesty?
I have several mentors who I’ve forged relationships with over the years, including my supervisor, who I highly respect and whose guidance I often seek in my career. My pastor is a mentor for the spiritual aspects of my life. Also, I recently asked a leader to become my formal mentor, because I saw she had certain characteristics that I felt could benefit me. I also have a number of informal mentors; people who I call upon for guidance and feedback. These encounters are not structured, nor do they require face-to-face meetings on a regular basis.
Take the first step—reach out and get connected with the right mentor today!