This past weekend I was a speaker at the International Association of Administrative Professionals NJ Division conference where I shared my thoughts and ideas about Mentoring Partnerships. This dynamic organization decided it would be a great benefit to create a Mentoring Program to leverage the extraordinary gifts and talents of its members. I was so impressed with the commitment of the attendees to one another and their support of helping each other become stronger leaders. Here are some take-aways from the presentation, both of what I shared and what I learned from these extraordinary professionals.
Most of us could not be where we are today in our careers without a mentor.
We shared our stories of the impact that mentors have made in our journeys, both professional and personal. In fact, myself included, have changed careers several times and were guided and empowered by a mentor.
I began my journey as a teacher. When I was in college I loved my teaching internship at a high school in Buffalo, NY. I remember my mentor, Doris and how she empowered me to tackle assignments I was frankly scared to do.
She once asked me to teach a lesson on a romance movie to a 12th grade English class. I was petrified of being able to create the lesson so I approached her and asked:
“Doris, how will I do this? I don’t even know the movie!”
She responded: “Don’t worry, we will work on this together and you will be great!”
I remember trying to conjure up the confidence to get in there and impart my pitiful knowledge on these amazing seniors.
I couldn’t believe how well it went! The kids shared so much that I just ran with a few concepts and I felt so excited. Yes I could be a teacher and Doris’s belief in me and my abilities propelled me forward. She was an incredible mentor.
Mentors are magical people we met along the way who take an interest in us and empower us to achieve greater things than we even knew we could.
My second career move happened when I decided to pursue my MBA- a little risky for a woman who didn’t love mathematical analysis or finance.
During my business program, I met a professor who taught organizational behavior. He took a liking to me as he welcomed my comments and suggestions. Here I was in this highly technical graduate school being empowered to use my verbal skills and share the importance of people in organizations.
He told me:
“Terri, when you graduate, get the best job with the best company and you will find your niche.”
Well I did just that! I landed a highly financial job in a NYC bank and transformed into a lending officer.
Ok you might be wondering why I would accept a financial job, but my confidence was building and I believed in what my mentor professor had said.
Mentors believe in us and what we can accomplish.
At the bank, I meant a nurturing man in Human Resources who engaged me about where I wanted to end up. He shared what HR did and how I could be an asset with my technical skills and chatty people skills.
Well four years later, Mentor Gil helped me land my first position in what would be the beginning of my career today. He connected me with the critical players in the HR area. His patience and belief that I was a natural made him a wonderful mentor.
What magical person have you met along the way who made a difference in your career choices or direction? Would love to hear your stories!