Early in my career as an HR professional, I sat down with my supervisor to discuss my “career development.” I had recently made the decision to transition from a scientific career to a Human Resources career, and we both knew that I had a lot to learn in order to excel in the HR field.
As we established my annual career goals, one goal was to obtain a mentor — someone who was experienced in HR and could be a counselor and trusted advisor. We began to discuss different people who might be a good fit and came up with several options. The next step was for me to determine exactly what I wanted to gain from a mentor/mentee relationship and to have a conversation with each candidate to determine whether one (or more) would be willing to serve in that capacity.
In preparation for those conversations, I first needed to be sure that I understood what a mentor really was and could provide. From my perspective, here were the key considerations I had when considering someone as a mentor:
M — Motivation: Mentors are motivators. They should be readily available and provide positive encouragement to help mentees pursue their passions and goals.
E — Excellence: Mentors should exhibit excellence and should urge their mentees to do their absolute best in everything they do.
N — Networking: Mentors should help mentees establish a strong network and, if possible, introduce them to influential people and to new networking opportunities.
T — Time: Time together is important, and mentors should be willing to invest their time and establish a nurturing relationship. They should be willing to have regular meetings to establish a strong support system.
O — Openness: Openness and trust between the mentor and mentee are critical, and if they are established early, the mentor/mentee relationship will thrive.
R — Respect: Mutual respect ties into trust, and once a mentor relationship has been established, mutual respect will hold that relationship together.
I never established a permanent relationship with someone that I called my mentor and as I helped so many with career guidance as an HR professional, the idea for this book came as I reflected on my career and pondered whether I had missed out on something. I did have many people that I called on for specific guidance, for discussions about my career and personal life and I established relationships that I felt were mutually beneficial. Were they mentors - YES! Whether formal or not, these relationships served a purpose and made a difference in my career.
As managing editor of Mentoring Moments, I reflected on my career and the role that these informal mentors played in my life. I also wanted to provide a tool for women contemplating the direction in which they wanted their career to go, for example, women in the workplace who were trying to decide whether they wanted to enter (or leave) corporate America, mid-career hires with little or no direction, and entrepreneurs who were ready to break out on their own. I wanted them to realize that if they had direction and support, that they did not have to feel as though they were doing it alone, and that if others could succeed, so could they.
In this book, 14 remarkable women share their challenges and ultimate successes in their lives and in their careers. My hope is that each reader will be able to identify with these 14 remarkable women and their stories and see them as a mentor, as women who can help provide guidance to think through some UNexpected life situations or decisions that need to be made. My hope is that they will see these 14 remarkable women as women who have “been there,” who made it through, and who continue to succeed.
At the end of each chapter, there are “Mentoring Moments” that can be used as a tool to work toward future successes. Each chapter ends by asking five key questions for someone to ask themselves and identify how to move through to success. No, this book is not a replacement for a mentor, but it can surely be a tool that can help someone to find the right questions to ask themselves and provide answers and work through with their own mentor.
Stay tuned - Mentoring Moments: 14 Remarkable Women Share Breakthroughs to Success is coming soon!
Denola M. Burton is the Founder and CEO of Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, LLC. Denola has a B.S. and M.S. in Biology, is a natural nurturer and after transitioning to a Human resources career, brings over 20 years of HR experience and expertise to challenge everyone to grow and develop wherever they are in their life or careers. Through Enhanced DNA, Denola’s goal is to develop and nurture individuals and organizations so they can achieve their Leadership, Communication and Performance objectives. Denola is the author of three books, all published by the Enhanced DNA Publishing Division of her company. She has been married over 26 years and she and her husband have two daughters. You can follow Denola on all social media @EnhancedDNA or through her website: www.DevelopNurtureAchieve.com.