by Laure Ballow of iHire, W2WM Board Member + Mentor
As a board member and mentor with W2WM, I often share my passion for the organization and invite other women to consider becoming a mentor. Sometimes I’m surprised by their responses. “I don’t think I’d be a very good mentor.” “I’ve never done anything like that before.” “I don’t have it all together…I’m still trying to figure things out.” Well guess what– We are all a work in progress! We are all still learning and growing, but thanks to our life experience, we have plenty of skills and insights to offer a younger woman.
Of course, every mentoring relationship is different, and each mentee’s needs are unique. When pairing participants, we consider what each person is looking for and who can best provide it. Wondering if mentoring could be right for you?
If you answer yes to ANY of the questions below, you could be a great mentor!
1. You’ve walked in her shoes, overcome an obstacle.
Maybe you too relocated from another area, put yourself through school, or lost a job. Like her, you may have been a single mom, gone through a divorce, or returned to school after taking a break. Perhaps you’ve both experienced homelessness, domestic abuse, or chronic illness. In any case, you can be a beacon of hope and light to show her the way. Be someone who understands and cares. Help her to build confidence, set goals, and take next steps.
2. You’ve lived longer than her.
Aren’t you wiser than you were 10 years ago? You’ve gained life’s experiences and made mistakes along the way, and you’ve got the bumps and bruises (or gray hair and wrinkles) to prove it! With all those lessons you’ve learned, you’re in a position to pass that knowledge on and offer guidance to someone who isn’t as far on her journey as you are.
3. You have a career or a business.
Many of our mentees are looking to launch or advance their careers or perhaps start a business. Some feel “stuck.” They need someone to show them the ropes, guide them, and help them figure out a path forward. You might be able to advise on the type of education she needs or doesn’t need, the best companies to work for, how to get scholarships or grants, or how to improve skills and avoid pitfalls on the job. You might simply share your experience and what it’s like to do what you do and help her to explore the possibilities.
4. You know people who know people.
Making connections is a huge benefit of our program for both mentors and mentees. Sometimes it’s intentional; other times it unfolds like magic. Your network is bigger than you think. Friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, fellow club-members, and the community services you are familiar with can all be a resource for someone else in need. Woman to Woman Mentoring facilitates these connections all day long.
5. You are supportive and nurturing.
You are a good listener. You enjoy building one-on-one relationships, coaching, and supporting others. Helping others to build confidence and achieve goals feeds your soul. Sometimes mentees just need someone to care, to cheer them on and hold them accountable.
I was first introduced to Woman to Woman Mentoring in 2015 by a colleague who asked me to consider becoming a mentor. Eager to contribute, I signed up thinking it was a program for at-risk youth. I quickly discovered that we serve women from all walks of life, at various stages of adulthood, who are looking to move forward in their career, education, or personal life. Witnessing the growth and confidence that blooms within these women is amazing and mentoring enriches us all. Sometimes you are the mentor, and sometimes you are the mentee.