As an African American female professional with a long history in the tech and business industries, I cannot overstate the importance of mentorship in the workplace. Mentors can help guide you through the complexities of your industry, offer advice on career development, and provide valuable connections that can help propel your career forward.
But mentorship is not just about the individual, it’s about the community. At Big Brothers Big Sisters, the youth mentoring organization where I now serve as CEO, we know that mentorship can change lives. Providing a positive role model and mentor to a young person can help them develop self-confidence, set goals, and realize their potential.
But mentorship is not just for youth. Professionals of all ages and levels of experience can benefit from the guidance and support of a mentor. Whether you are just starting out in your career or looking to take your skills to the next level, a mentor can provide valuable insights and help you navigate the often-challenging world of business.
It is also important to recognize the interrelated issues that can impact the success of mentorship programs. For example, gender and race can play a role in who is selected as a mentor or mentee, and how they interact. We must be aware of these dynamics and work to create inclusive and supportive environments for all participants.
Personally, I have been fortunate to have had strong mentors throughout my career who have helped me achieve great things. I now try to pay it forward by mentoring others, both in my professional life and as a Big Sister to a young girl in need of a positive role model.
In today’s hybrid work environments, it can be challenging to connect with mentors and mentees. But with a little creativity and flexibility, we can continue to build strong mentorship relationships and support each other in our career development. It is my hope that all professionals, especially those from underrepresented groups, will have access to the guidance and support they need to succeed in their careers.