Let’s be honest…. life is hard! Especially these days. But, no matter where you are on your life’s journey – whether you are a collegiate member, someone who is just starting out on a new career path, a newlywed, a new parent, or simply living out your golden years – life is so much easier when you have the right people beside you to help you navigate. And, just as your life’s priorities may change, so will the people who matter most. It is important to have at least one person, as you journey, that you can depend on. A person to help you navigate life’s challenges and changes. Someone you can talk to about your hopes, your fears, your goals and your dreams. And who will consistently guide you and provide honest feedback. This person is your mentor.
By definition, a mentor is someone who imparts wisdom or knowledge. This individual can play a significant role in both your personal and professional growth and development. And, can help to turn your dreams into reality. It is someone you can trust implicitly to guide you on your way. Your mentor should challenge you to improve, should be inquisitive and ask the tough questions, and should be willing to provide you with honest feedback, both positive and negative.
As a young professional, at the ripe age of 21, working in the advertising world, I was fortunate enough to have a female boss 10 years my senior. She was sharp, confident, and an executive in a professional environment that was predominantly male led. Needless to say, she both inspired and intimidated me. Janice saw potential in me that I wasn’t even aware I was capable of and immediately took be under her wing. In the seven years that I was fortunate enough to work for her, she guided me both personally and professionally. She challenged me and expected more out of my work than others. Her advice over those years left a lasting impact on me and I will be forever grateful to her for the time she took to show me that she believed in me as a professional, as a woman and as a friend.
Having a mentor can be live saving, and can teach you to work smarter not harder, but being a mentor can be life changing. Being able to nurture someone can be just as rewarding, if not more so, than volunteering for a charity or helping a friend. It allows you the opportunity to give something of yourself and will provide you with a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment personally. There’s no official application process and no interview process, per say. You just have to be a great communicator and willing to give of your time, knowledge and talents. Who would you like to see blossom and grow?
The world needs good mentors. So, make yourself available. I promise, when you hear the words, “you’ve changed my life,” for the first time you will know exactly what it means to be a mentor. Be intentional, honest, objective, compassionate and fair. And remember, mentors matter. So, always be the mentor you wish you had.
If you live in close proximity to a collegiate chapter, reach out to their Alumnae Relations Chair to work together to establish some mentoring opportunities (i.e- career related, rose buddy).
Have your Alumnae Relations Chair reach out to other collegiate chapters to get ideas (best practices) about what they do to develop mentoring programs for their chapters.
Alumnae Chapters & Collegiate Chapters
Work together to reach out to your local Big Brothers/Big Sisters (or similar type groups in your area) to establish mentorships together in the community.
- Think about someone in your life currently whom you would consider your mentor and do something to show them how much you appreciate the time they spend with you and share with them the difference it is making in your life.
- Reflect about someone in your past who served as a mentor, or an influential individual, for you and reach out to them to thank them for the difference that they made in your life and the impact that their guidance had on you.
Lori Goede is an alumna of Gamma Omicron (U of Florida) and Education Committee Chairman.