March has always been a special month for me. It’s my birthday month, it’s Women’s History Month, we acquired Women In Automotive on International Women’s Day and, of course, it’s always exciting to vie for the remote during March Madness.
At this time of year, I often think back with gratitude at the special people who have touched my life. Much of my success is a direct result of my mentors. Family, friends and business leaders devoted their time to support, and continue to guide and help me develop and grow in my career. They provided insights and feedback just when I approached a crossroad in my journey. This is the power of having a mentor.
During the early years of my journey, I was a sponge and sought out the people I believed could help me answer the tough questions that came up as I navigated the paths of life and professional success.
For the mentors in my life, it was vital that we built a relationship based upon trust. It was incumbent upon me to define the areas where I needed help and support from my mentor. It was also on me to hold myself accountable and deliver the results that I desired. My mentors were there to shape and support me with their gift of wisdom and experience. A willingness to hear feedback and answer the tough questions may not have always been easy but it was instrumental in my growth.
Access to a Mentor Increases Likelihood of Success
Most business leaders will attribute some measure of their success to having a great mentor. It is the person who takes the time to get to know them, to listen intently to their thoughts and concerns, understand exactly what they need at a particular time and takes the time to guide them as needed. It is the person who shares their wisdom, their lived experiences, their successes and their failures.
There are so many aspects of the mentoring relationship that make it such a powerful tool for shaping our next generation leaders. Successful mentors take time to understand and customize the experience for the mentee, granting them the confidence they need to progress in their individual field.
A Personal Opportunity to Give Back
Over the course of my career in the automotive industry, I’ve experienced the reward of using my story to help influence the character, development and behavior of younger or less experienced associates time and time again. Our experiences and expertise can be an enormous benefit to someone just beginning their career journey or transitioning into a new space.
It starts with creating a trusted, mutually beneficial professional relationship. Based on this foundation of trust, mentees can explore their career opportunities, establish goals for the future, learn to build strong relationships and foster connections that will become invaluable as time progresses. This, combined with the ownership of their own success, leads to the cultivation of confidence and skills that can help the mentee in the long term.
Can I Be a Mentor?
Take a moment to consider the influence your guidance could have on someone. Recently, I spoke with a young lady who was exploring a career change. The occasion for her to openly share her concerns and questions about her career opportunity allowed me to provide guidance on the possibilities to consider as she pondered her decision. As we talked, I was able to serve as a sounding board and provide her with the space to explore her real concerns. The conversation opened the door for us to share some of the advantages, obstacles and possible triumphs that she could experience, as well as address the resiliency and courage that a move like this entails.
As a mentor, we are able to leverage our experience and influence to help a mentee build confidence, expand on competences and build the skills that can lead to career advancement and personal development. Yes, mentoring entails counseling, advising and a transfer of knowledge, but it also develops leadership skills, within both parties. It reminds the mentee of their value and develops a greater awareness of skills and habits that helps them to fine-tune their individual talents and aptitudes.
Mentoring has become my opportunity to give back. Having been a mentee myself, I appreciate the power and influence of being a mentor even more. As a leader, it’s my ultimate goal to be a positive influence to as many people as I can.
I invite each of you to join me at the upcoming Women In Automotive Recharged Conference on June 22-24, 2023, at the Renaissance Hotel in Dallas, Texas. This year’s conference will have a focus on mentorship as a part of our WomenPowered Mentoring program. Come meet your next mentor or make that decision to be a mentor.
We look forward to seeing you there. For more information, email [email protected] or visit