By Gina Alshuler, the CEO of Rauxa
Too many of us are taught to question ourselves.
“Did I raise my hand at the right time?”
“Did I add value in that meeting?”
“Was my POV well received?”
These doubts are exacerbated when you’re new to the game. So, for those who are entering the workforce, it’s especially helpful when someone trusted and seasoned can be the angel on your shoulder. When our inner critics are loud, mentors can help quiet them — not just with words of approval, but by taking the time to help us think things through.
Let’s unpack this. According to IBM’s Millennial survey, “Millennials view work as a key part of life, not a separate activity that needs to be “balanced” by it. For that reason, they place a strong emphasis on finding work that’s personally fulfilling.” Unsurprisingly, mentors and the ability to access them play a large role in achieving professional growth. Support through mentors is key as employees aim to identify their place. For employers, a formalized mentorship program can provide employees with the resources necessary in identifying one’s purpose in the workplace.
Employers, if not doing so already, must constantly ask themselves: what can we do better, and how can we foster these relationships through our own programs? According to a Cornell study, “Mentorship programs, when done correctly have several benefits that help not only the mentor and protégé, but can also aid the company.” Creating a formal program within your own four walls also ensures employers are accountable, an essential ingredient in the mentorship pie.
When I think of my mentor, Jill Gwaltney, the founder of Rauxa, and the reasons why she so greatly impacted my career growth, it’s largely because she continuously held me accountable. Jill went beyond simply being a teacher and assumed the role of coach; helping to track my successes and holding me to deadlines. You are more likely to be a successful mentor when you see things through. It’s more than that coffee chat — and creating a formal program helps make this a reality.
3 tips for mentors in the making:
- So much of a successful mentor/mentee relationship is dependent on openness. And this can be hard. Who doesn’t want to be viewed as 100% competent? Which is why it’s especially important to build trust. Building trust with one another allows for an environment where mentees feel comfortable addressing their pitfalls and can go on to create an action plan toward success, with your help.
- They want to be heard and seen. Avoid assumptions; not all Millennials love social media or move from job to job at lightning speed. In fact, a Deloitte study found that “loyalty to an employer is driven by understanding and support of Millennials’ career and life ambitions.” They seek the ability to learn, and a meaningful purpose at work — two things a mentor can help facilitate.
- Just as my mentor did for me, hold your mentee accountable. Life lessons are always helpful, but they’re even more helpful when they can be applied directly to an individual’s day-to-day.
For me, making the leap from receptionist to CEO didn’t happen in a day or even a year. It took years of work, dedication and, most importantly mentorship by strong leaders like Jill to keep me on track and keeping me accountable towards meeting specific goals for greater success. The power of mentorship has been nothing short of a cornerstone in my professional journey and will continue to be a linchpin for so many leaders — women and men — of tomorrow.
About The Author
Gina Alshuler is the CEO of Rauxa, the largest, woman-owned independent advertising agency in the U.S. Rising through the ranks over a 15-year period, Gina started as the agency’s receptionist and was named President and CEO in 2016. Gina didn’t rise through the ranks alone, though — she was coached and guided by her mentor, the founder of Rauxa, Jill Gwaltney. As outlined in her piece, Gina’s an advocate for mentorship/lifting others up in the workplace and beyond. With it, she hopes to highlight the importance of internal mentorship programs, as well as tips for “mentors in the making.”
Originally published at medium.com