Is Mentorship a Two-Way Street? The Best Moments of the New York Times’ June Panel on Mentorship|
Last week, the New York Times hosted a panel titled Finding Mentors: Lessons Learned from Innovators. The event brought together five panelists of different industries to share their thoughts and experiences with mentoring. Kelly Hoey, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Women Innovate Mobile served as moderator; speakers included Caroline Ghosn – Co-Founder & CEO of The Levo League, Natalia Oberti Noguera – Founder & CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, Lauren Maillian Bias – Founder & CEO of Luxury Market Branding, Reshma Saujani – Founder of Girls Who Code, and Sara Chipps – Co-Founder of Girl Develop It.
The panelists discussed conventional mentor-mentee relationship models– where mentors are found, how long the average relationship lasts, and how functional it really is– and then explored new ways to think about mentoring. One interesting paradigm the speakers discussed was the intergenerational mentorship model.
Mentoring has become increasingly important to those looking to get ahead in the workplace. A mentor is a valuable resource for professional support and guidance, but also a friend helping you evolve in your career. A mentorship relationship can be found in an unexpected place and a mentor can be anyone from your boss, professor, friend, or family member. Here are some thoughtful comments on mentorship from incredible innovators in New York City.
On Formal Mentoring
- Think about where you are now, what questions you have, and who fits your current needs. Think about how you are adding value to your mentorship. Find a mentor who will be your devils advocate. – Natalia Oberti Noguera // Founder & CEO, Pipeline Fellowship
- When seeking a mentor, being direct is great. It is clear if you do your homework and I value that 100%. I want to mentor someone who I want to hire. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and don’t be afraid of rejection. – Lauren Maillian Bias – Founder & CEO, Luxury Market Branding
- It is up to us to mentor and sponsor women. We are now in the 21st century and we really need to cultivate our sisterhood. It is up to us to make that commitment if we want to change things. – Reshma Saujani // Founder, Girls Who Code
- Never ask the same question twice. Respect the time of the people you look up to. – Sara Chipps // Co-Founder, Girl Develop It
Who Is Mentoring Whom Now?
- Intergenerational mentoring: you are probably actually both mentoring and being mentored, even if you are not admitting it to yourself. Look at the person next to you and rethink some of the hierarchies that the status quo has set. – Natalia Oberti Noguera
- Amanda is my ultimate peer mentor. Women who help women are better off in leadership positions. We need to create a girls club and help each other out and pay it forward. Blindly give and do not wait to get anything back because you never know what bridges are going to be built. – Caroline Ghosn // Co-Founder & CEO, The Levo League
- You should look for thought partners and women who can help you grow. – Lauren Maillian Bias
- The best type of mentee is doing amazing things. Any way you can help them will hopefully inspire you. – Sara Chipps
A smattering of our favorite moments from the evening:
Q: What is the best mentor pickup line?
A: The pickup line is not that important. It is what you do after the pickup line that makes the difference. – Natalia Oberti Noguera
Q: Why do you mentor?
A: It gives me a lot of joy. I wouldn’t be here right now if people did not have my back. This country is about having the opportunity to help somebody. That is why we do what we do. - Reshma Saujani
Q: How do we have a conversation with men about women’s issues?
A: Men are starting to figure out what women can bring to the table. When you are in the position of leverage, you need to know how to work that leverage. – Lauren Maillian Bias
A: Our entire work culture has shifted, but we as men and women need to be part of this shift. If anything is going to change, we have to involve men in the conversation. Men are investing their time because these are not female issues, these are American issues. – Reshma Saujani