Almost three years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a young woman (just saying that makes me feel my age so much more than usual!) who is exceptionally bright, talented, and lovely to be around. It didn’t take long to see that she would go far in her career. At the time we met, she was just finishing up her second year of university, about to enter her third year in communications. Given that I have worked in communications for a large chunk of my career, she and I had a lot to talk about.
One day she referred to me as her mentor and I felt ridiculously honoured. We weren’t merely colleagues – our relationship had grown to a much higher level of trust.
1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
Wise. Trusted. Counselor. Teacher. Influential. Supporter.
Those are very big words with big implications and big responsibility. (I chose to ignore “senior”, even though it’s referring to experience rather than age.)
We can all be a mentor
The core values of the WBN – respect, integrity, collaboration, and development – embody some of the basic tenets of mentorship. They express critical elements of a mentor/mentee relationship.
Without respect and integrity, how can there be trust?
Without collaboration and development, how can there be influence and support?
I strongly believe that some of the best mentorship relationships are developed naturally through regular interactions as two people get to know each other. However, the number of successful mentorship programs that exist show that valuable mentoring can happen through arranged circumstances as well.
I am excited about the programs that the WBN has that allow us to mentor each other in a multitude of ways, from encouragement to give back as we heard from Rebecca Page Chapman at the December Breakfast Mix and Mingle, to deeper business and personal relationships in which we challenge each other to stretch and grow in our strengths to achieve goals.
Facilitating mentorship through support and connections
The WBN was built on the idea that women in business needed to mentor each other to facilitate success, because we grow together when we work together. To this day, all of our programs are designed specifically to bring that kind of value to those who attend.
When I look at my fellow members and see the relationships that exist within the network, I know that part of the vision is coming to fruition in a new way each year. Women are connecting, helping, supporting, and mentoring each other through the various stages of their professional/business lives. It’s lovely to see.
My young colleague took the first step in what I know will be a very successful career when she graduated last June – she landed a great job in her chosen profession. Every time we meet and catch up, I’m so proud of what she’s accomplished. And I know she’ll pay it forward one day to someone else who can use a trusted supporter.
That’s the kind of legacy that will make us all successful.
Do you have a mentor in your life? Someone who challenges you, and helps you see a different perspective? Someone who respects you enough to be completely honest, even in the hard topics? Someone who celebrates your successes with you?
I hope you do. There are few relationships more valuable than a good mentor.
If you’re looking to build a mentoring relationship with someone, I encourage you to come to the January Wine Down and Breakfast Mix and Mingle. There will be lots of women at both these events that want to get to know you!