For as long as I can remember, I’ve both been mentoring and had mentors. But because you tend to mentor the people who are just below you, as I got increasingly senior in my career (and just plain older), the people who naturally had access to me were often from privilege, either of background or demographics. So over the last few years, I’ve made a concerted effort to spend more time with people who are earlier in their careers and who haven’t had the same set of advantages.
If you’re looking for mentorship directly from me, please email my team and I’ll be happy to set up time. Before messaging me, please take the time to read the six basic guidelines of what I believe about mentorship.
1) You are the driver, you are the engine. Nobody else can set your goals, nor motivate you to accomplish them. What we can do is act as navigators, helping you plot a course, creating opportunities, and removing obstacles.
2) We are not mind readers. We cannot help you if you do not express where you need help. It is not the community’s job to check in on you – it is your job to check in with them.
3) Nothing is off the table. There is nothing about which you cannot come to a mentor. There will not be off limits topics and simply having a bad day and needing someone to listen is a perfectly acceptable form of mentorship.
4) No shame and no judgment. Nobody will ever tell you that your goals are the wrong goals or that you are working toward them in the wrong way. You must be equally as accepting of yourself.
5) This is your mentorship, not anyone else’s. It is important to own your own life. Regurgitating the goals others have for you will simply waste time and put you in the wrong place. Be authentic to yourself and you get out what you put in.
6) Nothing changes unless you change it. Ultimately, while we are all powerfully shaped by our context, the only thing we have control over is our own action and inaction. The greatest lever for change that we have is our own behavior and when we want change, we must take ownership over creating it.
I previously curated Mentorshipped, a peer mentoring group specifically for underrepresented women, which grew to a community of over 200 with a Slack group and weekly dinners. One of the drawbacks of this approach, however, was that it concentrated power in my hands rather than with the women it sought to serve. So as of May 6, 2018, it has transitioned to a fully self-directed community and I can no longer give you access.