Make the Most of Mentorship

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and the day is a reminder that gender-balanced workplaces are better for everyone. Mentorship is one way to advance gender equity, and it can enhance your career, but finding a mentor can feel daunting.

Mentorship is really just a relationship—and it can range from structured check-ins to casual coffee chats.

In honor of International Women’s Day, Forté recommends how to make the most of mentorship – whether you are a college student or a Fortune 500 CEO.

If you are a college student:

Expose yourself to successful women in as many fields as possible. Learning about an array of career options will help you reimagine what is possible for your future. Seek mentors through:

  • Your university alumni network
  • People you know through your family
  • Graduate students (such as MBAs) at your university

Request Forté’s Mentoring Guide for an undergraduate-led or MBA-led mentoring program.

If you are early in your career:

Explore other career interests and continue learning. Find “go-to” people to solicit advice on your next move – admired professionals, colleagues, and managers, or speakers who have inspired you.

Consider short-term and long-term goals and planning – such as career progression, family planning, and potentially returning to business school.

If you are mid-career:

Continue to develop mentors, building on established relationships with people you know well and can counsel you directly. Connect with someone in a field similar to yours, and another from a different field but with similar skills – this allows for diversity of thinking and perspective.

If you are at the top of your career:

Many people neglect mentorship after reaching their career pinnacle, but women can stretch themselves or achieve a greater depth of interest at this stage. Mentoring often happens via a group of trusted friends and peers who provide honest, generous feedback, and make room for each other’s successes.

Mentorship Walks

Regardless of where you are on your career journey, consider a Mentorship Walk. Connecting with women who have busy schedules can be challenging, and through Mentorship Walks you can seek and receive guidance while keeping active.

Whether you have 20 minutes or an hour, before or after work or during lunch, a Mentorship Walk is a unique opportunity to spend some time getting to know each other and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Consider some of these conversation starters:

  • Share your proudest achievement to date.
  • Discuss female influencers we see in the media.
  • Share a strong female role model for you and why.
  • What skills or qualities does it take to be a leader?
  • Are there gender differences in the skills or qualities of a leader?
  • What is one thing we can do today off campus or after work to change the balance of power in the workplace?

Let’s celebrate our achievements together! Forté has the resources for you to amplify women’s voices on social media, tools for you to build your leadership and self-empowerment wheelhouses, and keys to get you started in female mentorship at school or at work.

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