commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
Thanks to Chris for including me in his series. Mentor Stories was my favorite new blog series of last year and I'm glad it's continuing strong in 2013.
One quick question for Inbound: how many of you have primarily female mentors? Nearly all of my significant mentors in the past decade have been women. I'm extremely grateful for their perspective and time and hope to give back just as much to the community.
The most exciting part of your post was when you mentioned that all of your mentors have been women. A key takeaway of the film Miss Representation, a revealing look at how females are portrayed in media and how it affects society, is that more women should step up and mentor. Giving back in that way knocks down gender stereotypes and empowers both participants in a mentor relationship.
Interestingly enough, all of my explicit mentors have been male and my passive mentors have been female (I'm not sure they'd say they were mentoring - I was learning by watching their lead). My current mentors are all male. I'm looking forward to someday when I can play the mentor role.
Wonderful mentor stories. Thanks to Jon for his always transparent and high-quality storytelling, and to Chris for coordinating it.
My experience with mentors have been varied. Some were explicit mentors and most were passive. I learned early on in my career how important it was to have someone in your corner of the ring, passing along knowledge and shining a light along your path. When my manager was my mentor it might have been due to wanting to closely manage me - but what a fantastic side effect! I felt like I grew in leaps and bounds when I had someone in my corner.
But I lost a mentor early in my career while I was working at a company with siloed roles. He left and I pretty much had to fend for myself with little contact to my new reporting manager and the rest of the team. That was the point when I had realized how precious a mentor is.
I spent a few years, in no uncertain terms, searching for a mentor. It was hard to find one; either they weren't the right fit for me, they were too busy to volunteer their time, or they were a company that was not interested in hiring someone who was looking for a mentor in their manager.
It's funny - when I stopped trying, I had not one - but TWO very generous friends / professional contacts offer mentorship. This didn't happen until I announced that I was going to break out into independent consulting. Both mentors are independent consultants themselves - one an expert in gamification and game design, and the other a financial planner. I think they saw something that moved them to offer something as generous as their time and knowledge. They often cite how important it is to them to give back, and they couldn't have gotten where they are without their own mentors.
Thanks for sharing your stories, Jonathon! I'm glad people are enjoying the series, but no one is as much as I am. Lauren, thanks for your comments here and on Twitter. I'd love to post your stories as well. Please email me at ccountey at delphicsage.com if you would like to contribute. And did you see this? -> http://level343.com/article_archive/2013/01/14/top-seo-women-of-2013-nominees/