January is National Mentorship Month, which means, hopefully, that you have taken someone under your wing to help them build the confidence and strategy to realize their potential. Or, maybe you have a mentor who’s done the same for you. If you have such a person, take a few seconds to reach out and send them an email or LinkedIn message (or simple text!) to appreciate them for their support. Go for it! We’ll wait.
Mentors are wonderful when you need to know how to proceed in your career and can use some guidance to level-up your game. They can help build your confidence by validating your successes and achievements; assist you in strategizing for your next steps; and run through interview preparations or rehearsals for your next big presentation.
Mentorship is one of the best ways to amplify our success and build on our networks. However, the onus to mentor women shouldn’t lie solely on women, and men with genuine good intentions and relevant expertise shouldn’t shrink from mentoring promising women leaders.
If you have all the pieces, however, and they’re put together, and you still feel like you’re not where you want to be professionally, find a sponsor. Women have twice as many mentors as men do and half as many sponsors. Ellevest, Sallie Krawcheck’s investing and networking platform for women, notes in its excellent Mind the Gap Guide, the difference between mentors and sponsors: “They fight for your seat at the table. [They] bring your name up in conversation when senior management is at Capitol Grille for Friday afternoon lunch. Sponsors push for you to get promoted and have a vested interest in your success.”
It’s important to note that, while making your list of potential women sponsors, don’t leave out the men. Ultimately, our champions know no gender.
So how do you get a mentor or sponsor? Just ask. You don’t need to say, “will you be my sponsor?” Simply, start developing relationships with people you think would be (or are) great sponsors and then ask them for opportunities where they could open the door for you. Always remember to return the favor (or preferably to start the favor) my giving them value.
“Often times people sit, and wait to be noticed, but I notice the most successful people that have the sponsors, and the mentors and have been really guided through their careers — they reached out proactively and nurtured that relationship. Often we have sponsors in rooms we don’t even know about.”
The video from American Banker’s series on the Most Powerful Women in Banking may be from 2016, but the message from BBVA Compass’s Chief Talent and Culture Officer (think HR director) Rosilyn Houston is just as timely today: if there’s not a seat at the table for you, bring a folding chair.
Good luck and share your stories with us!
Mortgage Women Magazine
Women’s Leadership Quote:
“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” — Audre Lorde
Health Tip of the Day:
If you’re traveling, bring hand wipes, sanitizer, and nasal spray, and follow these steps:
- With the wipes, clean arm rests, seat belt buckle (both sides), & tray table (the tray table has more bacteria than the toilet seats because they don’t clean the tray tables between flights, but they do the toilet seats!).
- Use the hand sanitizer to clean your hands afterward.
- Flights are very drying, & moist nasal passages have a greater defense against virus & bacteria bugs, so use your nasal spray.
- If you have essential oils on hand, this can be used for an extra layer of defense.
- Meditate on or think about something that creates positive energy or do work you enjoy. Negative emotions will negatively impact your immune system.
- Relax & enjoy your flight because you will be an immune system power house!