Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to School, Not Quite

Happy Friday. It's back-to-school time and most kids in Connecticut wrap up their first official week of school today. As I see the school buses pick up and drop off kids it brings back memories of when I used to stand and wait for the yellow banana boat I called a bus. 

Although I'm no longer in school I believe in being a lifelong learner. Regardless of your class, ethnicity, race or religion, education lays the foundation for upward mobility and has the power to level the playing field. Unlike money, which comes and goes, once you learn something that knowledge stays with you. 

There are many ways for us to learn. It can happen in a formal educational setting, through our parents, peers, or in the form of mentoring. Merriam Webster defines a mentor as someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person. While the definition gives an understanding of the role it doesn't underscore the importance of mentoring as a powerful tool to enhance one's professional and personal life. 
Attributes of Mentoring.

Having benefited from mentoring relationships, I firmly believe its a relationship that all professionals should embrace, regardless of where they are at in their careers. Even when you have a strong manager or director, it may not be enough to help you achieve your professional goals or address concerns regarding your professional development throughout your career. In my experience mentoring has provided support, guidance, and tough love in helping me set-up and achieve short-term and long-term goals.

Recently, I've embrace the opportunity to "pay it forward" by mentoring a young women named Elizabeth. I used to work with Elizabeth's mom and reconnected with her. At the event I met her daughters, two of which are interested in careers in communications. I received a message from Elizabeth's mom on LinkedIn, she wanted to know if I would be interested in mentoring her daughter. I was honored by the request. 

Elizabeth is entering her senior year of high school and is looking at universities and colleges. My own college search doesn't seem that long ago. How time flies. 

Elizabeth and I had our first meeting a few weeks back. We met at a Starbucks to talk and got to know each other. I felt like it was a good meeting and I'm looking forward to our monthly check in next month. It means a great to deal to me to be helping a fellow African American female strive for her dreams. Although I'm the mentor, I expect to also learn and grow from this process. 

If you're interested in mentoring, learn more at