I decided some time ago to say yes when they asked me to become a mentor. I found it a real honor to get this question, as it feels to me I have the ability to pass my experience and to give other a drive to go for their dreams and talents. Mentorship and sponsorship are key drivers of success, yet women can have a harder time finding mentors and sponsors, especially ones with influence. The good news is that we can mentor other women at any stage in our careers, and it pays off when we do. Women who are mentored by women feel more supported and are often more satisfied with their career
My first mentee is a women, which does not mean I only want to mentor women…
No matter what stage you’re at in your career, you can mentor another woman. If you’re farther along in your career, pay it forward by investing in a woman just starting out. And if you’re early in your career, find a woman who’s coming up behind you or a student who’s interested in your field. Commit time and energy to developing your mentee. Don’t underestimate the value of your input—you may have just been through what she’s experiencing.
Start by understanding your mentee’s career goals, then think through her best path forward and how you can help. The best mentors go beyond mentorship and advocate for their mentees. Endorse her on social media, recommend her for a high-profile project, introduce her to people in your network. Find ways to open doors for her and invest in her success.
Make yourself available and take the time to understand her questions and give her thoughtful and thorough input. If she’s not using your time wisely, be clear about your expectations and set guidelines for your time together. You’ll both benefit from getting into a good rhythm.
If you hold back to protect your mentee’s feelings, you’re not helping her. Remember, your honest feedback will help her advance more quickly. Direct, actionable feedback is a gift.