On Monday, April 4th, Kelli joined more than 10,000 women in 43 cities nationwide for Bizwomen’s third annual “Mentoring Monday,” in our very own city of Buffalo, New York. In this unique event, mentors and mentees came together for seven-minute discussions, and when the bell rings, the mentee must move on. It was a crazy combination of “Speed Dating” and “Career Coaching,” and Kelli loved every minute of it.
The event was held at the Millenium Hotel in Cheektowaga from 9 a.m. to noon, and if time really does fly when you’re having fun, everyone was having a ball. While Kelli was asked to be a mentor at this year’s event, she was the one who came away with some very valuable lessons.
#1 –Women need multiple mentors.
Just like one friend can’t be all things to you, one mentor may not have all the skills sets, the wisdom or the experience to serve as a woman’s only mentor. This was witnessed at the event as women had the opportunity to meet and learn from a wide range of professionals in fields as far-reaching as advertising (mine) to accounting to engineering and beyond. Each mentor had unique insights to share, and the combination of women was much more powerful than one mentor could provide.
#2 – Mentoring is important at any age.
Kelli spoke with young women right out of college, as well as women who were looking to change careers or those re-entering the workforce. Despite their stage in their professional careers, each one realized that by networking with and learning from other women, she could greatly increase her viability and value in the market.
#3 – The Mentor can learn as much – or more than – the mentee.
During the course of these discussions, Kelli enjoyed sharing her perspective, but was most fascinated to hear about the goals and aspirations of those she met. She learned that, despite what a lot of marketers might say, the “Millenials” she spoke with are actually very driven and success-oriented professionals. They network through social media and social gatherings – both of which are important – and are willing to put in the time to get where they want to be.
As a brand strategist, Kelli couldn’t help but be impressed with the “personal brands” of the women she met. Each one seemed to know herself and her strengths well. Kelli is looking forward to staying in touch with these outstanding women and watching where their careers take them next!