We’ve been talking and posting on social media about #WomensHistoryMonth throughout March to celebrate the women who have blazed new trails throughout history and to increase awareness for the work that still needs to be done for each of us to reach our full potential. This includes leveraging the experience of those who have gone before us through mentorship and support for other women. When one of us wins, we all win!
Everyone is familiar with the “old boys network”. If women are going to be successful, we need each other – we need to create the “new women’s network”. While some women achieve success, and then want other women to have to “work as hard as they did”, it’s the true leaders that will encourage other women and help pull their chairs to the table.
We still have a lot of ground to make-up to reach C-Suite positions, upper level management and pay equity, so we must learn from each other along the way. Take the time to seek advice from the one woman who has a seat at the boardroom table – she knows the players and the culture. Men network and help each other, so women should do the same.
Most importantly, a woman boss or colleague who steps into that important mentor role for you could be the person that changes everything. A good mentor can have many roles. She (or he) can:
- Advocate for you and open doors for you internally.
- Introduce you to key people.
- Provide inside information and help you learn the politics of your company or industry.
- Help push you to the next level by shining a light on what you might not know about yourself.
- Believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.
When you’ve found that person, listen to her, appreciate her, because you might remember her for the rest of your life. Personally, I met the mentor who would change the course of my life when there was a gap between my career in the mental health field and starting my own business.
During this period, I managed to land a position with the Flint River Girl Scout Council as a field director, and a woman named Gail Kirocofe was my direct supervisor. I believed myself to be completely out of my element, with no experience hiring staff and managing the many details associated with being a camp director.
Every day, Gail reassured me that she knew I had the ability, strength and smarts to do the job. She let me know that she wasn’t going to do it for me, but that she had the belief in me that I was fully capable of doing it myself.
In my effort to not disappoint her, I was able to dig deep and find what she saw in me. I literally credit her with having a thumbprint on my success, which changed the course of my life. Even though I was only with the Girl Scouts for two years, this story illustrates my conviction of the power of one mentor. Gail believed in me, which gave me the confidence to raise my expectations for myself. While I have had many mentors over the years, Gail was the one that touched my career at that pivotal moment. When I left the Girl Scouts, I moved on to start my own business.
In 2015, the awareness of the impact Gail had on my life was particularly striking. I was featured on an electronic billboard as a conference speaker in Pennsylvania. Realizing how far I had come, I found Gail to let her know I would not have been on that billboard without her. In her 80s, Gail became a children’s book author and was enjoying her next chapter of success.
When we talk about Women’s History Month and mentorship, don’t ever underestimate the power of one – that one mentor can have an astonishing impact on your life, your success and who you ultimately become.
If you are eager to make a greater impact in your career and be a game-changer, it would be my honor to be part of that process with you. Please give me a call at 513-561-4288 or connect with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can empower you to achieve that goal.
Read Kay’s Corner in the March newsletter to find practical tips for mentoring.