When I was in government I was fortunate enough to have a manager who did just that. She saw my potential long before I did and as a result would give me stretch opportunities so I could learn new skills and develop my leadership skills.
I’ve blogged about formal mentorship programs before and from my personal experience they haven’t always worked that well, much because of the matching, or lack of thought given on who would connect and work well together. It seemed more a superficial linkage based on skill sets the mentee required.
I have even participated in an online mentoring program through which I was matched with a young university student in United Arab Emirates which was an interesting experience where I think I learned more than she did!
Over the years I have also mentored several women and each time I have chosen them. There was some chemistry between us from the get-go and I’d seen their potential and wanted to help them get ahead.
That’s why I am so excited about the mentoring program Company of Women will be starting in January. This past week I met up with Laurie Hunt, who has facilitated numerous mentoring programs, and who, I am thrilled to announce will be heading up our program.
Right from the very start we plan to capitalize on the synergy between the women when we do the matching. In addition to an application form through which the women have to indicate their goals and what help they need, we are hosting a “mingle and match” event so everyone gets to meet and from there the “matching” begins.
The goal is that the mentors and mentees “meet” once a month, which can be done in person, over the phone, on Skype – whichever works best for the couple. Touching base once or twice by email is also encouraged. There will be webinars and other learning opportunities, as well as group face-to-face meetings during the year.
Being an entrepreneur is a solo occupation and it can be challenging to find someone who will give you impartial advice, be a sounding board and who will lend their wisdom and expertise with you. Having a mentor means you have someone in your corner. How cool is that.
This fall Laurie will be speaking at each of the chapters to talk more about your existing network and the mentoring program, what it is … and what it isn’t. Like anything else, you only get out of it, what you put in. We are also looking for mentors and if you would be interested in taking on this role, contact us.