The APEX Women Virtual Conference has an impressive list of panelists and topics, and I am excited about this meeting. It got me to thinking back wistfully on my career and wishing I had had some mentors like those in this assembly.
Mentorship sounds so great in theory, but in real-life is a bit trickier. The biggest obstacle, if you’re trying to find a woman mentor, is to find another woman in LP. Then to try and find one who doesn’t work with you or is your boss, one who has the time, energy and follow-up, PLUS, finding your own energy to keep the relationship going, someone you connect with on a personal level: it sounds exhausting! There can be a litany of excuses why one never really gets on the mentorship boat. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of co-workers and managers who I could bounce ideas off or get opinions from, but is that really what a mentor does? Thinking back to my rookie years and the many mistakes I made, I realize how truly impactful a woman mentor could have been on my career.
With so few women in the industry, we do ourselves a disservice by not mentoring others. Hopefully, you work for a company with mentorship programs, or you have had the good luck to cross paths with a mentor who stuck with you for a while. If you are new to the industry, the thought of reaching out to someone you don’t know and asking them to be your mentor might be VERY intimidating. Start with conferences like APEX Women, get to know a few people, ask questions, and you may just find someone who you click with. If you are a veteran, be humbled and appreciative if someone asks you for advice or to be a mentor, it really is the ultimate compliment.
Remember, it begins and ends with you. You hold the power to invest in yourself, so I encourage you to find a mentor, build relationships and create opportunities.