Many working professionals have many mentors over the course of their careers. Such mentors may be known as a board of mentors or acting as part of your personal advisory board.
What is a Board of Mentors?
What does it mean to have a board of mentors in your professional life?
Richa Bansal, founder and CEO of Pinkcareers, helps women get to the next level in their careers through career development trainings. Bansal defines a board of mentors as a trusted group of people that collectively act as mentors in your professional career.
Individuals that make up a board of mentors usually have varying skill sets and experience levels. Take a look at some examples of professionals that may be on your board of mentors.
- A senior leader in the company.
- A close peer or a friend.
- Someone you work alongside at a place you volunteer at.
- Your manager.
The Value of a Board of Mentors
Between the ages of 18 to 24, working professionals change their jobs an average of 5.7 times. Statistically, this number starts to decline after the age of 25. Professionals between the ages of 25 to 34 will change jobs an average of 2.4 times, and then average 2.9 job changes between the ages of 35 to 44.
As you look back on your career, you’ll marvel at the various jobs you have held and industries you’ve worked in. Ro Kalonaros, the Global Director of Content and Culture at Omnicom Group, notes that your board of mentors should be able to reflect your multifaceted life and career.
“If you have a group of mentors who reflect different facets of your life and values, and ones who think differently, they become your personal advisory board,” Kalonaros says.
Establishing a board of mentors means gathering together professionals of all ages, skill sets, and viewpoints. For example, some mentors may be able to speak to work-life balance. Others may tap into your creative side.
The more varying viewpoints make up your board of mentors, the more Kalonaros says you will have the ability to make holistic decisions and step outside of your comfort zone.
Can I Become a Mentor? Yes!
Janet Phan is a global technology consultant with PwC. She is also the founder of Thriving Elements, a nonprofit that pairs underrepresented girls with long-term 1:1 STEM mentors. Phan, who had her first mentor in high school, receives many benefits in mentorship 15 years into her career. Today, she continues to act as a mentor to others.
“Personally, as the daughter of refugee parents, I didn’t have a whole lot of vision for how I’d go to college and start a career. As a high school student, ‘global technology consultant’ and ‘founder of a nonprofit’ was not an option I had ever considered. But everyone from teachers to college professors and later colleagues helped show me the way,” Phan says.
“Being a mentor for me has always been about listening, empowering, providing alternative perspectives, and giving my mentees the confidence that they have someone in the industry they can reach out to.” Phan adds.
Kalonaros and Bansal also agree. It’s never too late to act as a mentor and join a board of mentors for a professional in need.
“There is ALWAYS an opportunity to become a mentor,” Kalonaros says. She advises taking a moment to identify your own mentoring superpower and how you might use it to help others. Think about how you got to where you are today and the valuable lessons you have learned along the way.
Then, make it your mission to give someone else the same opportunity.
“A lot of times the simplest words and the most miniscule actions unlock something big and have a ripple effect,” Kalonaros says.
Bansal says that you can become a mentor as early as an entry-level professional. In an entry-level role, you may mentor graduates and other aspiring professionals on how to get in the job market and teach them technical skills. As you start to move up the corporate ladder, you can begin mentoring your team on how to best position themselves for success in their careers.
“Everything has something to teach, even if they are just starting out in their career. Teaching is learning twice. Mentoring reinforces your own learning and helps you overcome imposter syndrome experienced by many high-achieving women,” Bansal adds.