According to a study from Catalyst, 65 percent of women who were mentored became mentors themselves. Youth.gov also claims that mentorship leads to higher college enrollment rates, improves interpersonal skills and decreases the likelihood of using drugs and alcohol.
Finding a female mentor who is in your corner rallying for your success motivates you to set goals, understand challenges and embrace the diversity of women in the workforce. Here are some insights into the power of female mentors and how to find one:
Learn to Take Calculated Risks
Former First Lady Michelle Obama credits her mentor as someone who encouraged her to take chances. She tells More Magazine that her mentor was a single mom who inspired her to open a daycare program for some of her faculty members’ and staff members’ children while at Princeton.
After arriving at the White House, Obama launched her own mentorship program that pairs disadvantaged girls with powerful women. Taking risks in your career and professional development lead to learning valuable skills you wouldn’t have otherwise, advancing faster in your career and finding or creating new opportunities.
Open More Doors
You may already have the support of your professors or friends to encourage you to reach your career goals, maybe via an online education program, but a mentor from your industry can open doors that others simply can’t. Look for a mentor in a boss or senior co-worker while completing an internship or working in an entry-level job.
Look for open positions at a company like LifeLock that consistently makes the “Best Place to Work” list and offers career advancement, tuition-assistance programs, free public transportation and voluntary benefits like pet insurance. Large companies like Verizon are also known for their thriving work culture, competitive salaries and high-percentage match for 401k plans.
Whether you want to stay at your entry-level job or move on, look for a senior manager or boss to give you advice and to guide you through the skills and mindset you need to move forward and perhaps want to upgrade your education.
Plan a Strategic Path to Success
Oscar Award-winning actress and producer Charlize Theron credits her manager, J.J. Harris, with being her mentor and greatest advocate. She tells New York Magazine that Harris encouraged her to say “no” and not to be grateful to land just any job. Through the power of saying “no,” Theron learned that she could build a successful and satisfying career without relying on a man to do it for her.
When looking for a mentor, take Theron’s lead by finding someone who encourages strategic goal setting and pushes you outside your comfort zone. Rely on your mentor to learn how to put together a plan for your success and when to say “no” to dead-end opportunities.
Establish High Standards
Sally Singer, the Creative Digital Director of Vogue, says that she was fortunate enough to have three powerful female mentors. Her first mentor, Margaret Simmons of Travel Holiday magazine, taught her to have incredibly high standards and to never compromise her view.
Your mentor should take a similar role in your life and career. She should help you define your values and point of view to create a clearer image of the work you want to accomplish and how to get there. Without a firm understanding of your own ideas, ideals, and standards, it’s impossible to apply them to your career trajectory.