How it Started
I was lucky enough to have a colleague recommendation to help me get involved in mentoring. After the initial flattery wore off, a little bit of doubt started creeping in. I found myself thinking, am I too young to have enough experience to properly mentor someone? I didn’t know what to expect going into the welcome meeting for all the mentors and mentees. As I was listening to title after title and numerous years of work experience the doubt and intimidation grew. I was determined to be successful at this for both my mentee and me. With that in mind, I did what any project manager would do, created a plan and a timeline based upon what my mentee wanted to learn and gain. My intention here isn’t to discredit the wealth of knowledge and successes that experienced mentors provide – it’s to encourage millennials (and young professionals) to get involved in mentoring.
Benefits of Mentoring
The benefits of mentoring are endless, but here are a few of the top benefits I found through my experiences.
- It’s been incredibly rewarding knowing that you’re impacting someone’s career and helping them grow
- It’s a great way to give back to your community
- Your mentee will teach you new skills
- You will meet other mentors and mentees throughout the mentorship, so it’s a tremendous opportunity to expand your network
Mentorship Helpful Tips for Success
Here are a few of my tips that have been successful:
- Tailor your mentoring plan to each mentee based upon what they are hoping to gain from the experience
- Be prepared for each session and pivot the goal of the session if needed
- Be flexible with your schedule if you can
- Ask for feedback after a few sessions to see if the mentee is getting what they would like out of the mentorship
- Allow your mentee the opportunity to network within your office or an organization you’re a part of
- Book your sessions through calendar invites to ensure you and your guests will remain available
- Have fun and celebrate the wins!
Each time you mentor, you will encounter different challenges. As you read above, my initial challenge was getting over my intimidation. Through encouragement from my colleagues at Flint Group and ensuring that my mentee was happy with our plans, the intimidation faded away. Another challenge that will typically create a bit of a hurdle is coordinating schedules. Planning ahead can eliminate most schedule conflicts, but if it can’t be avoided … pivot! One other challenge you may experience as a young mentor is being mistaken for the mentee. During a mentorship appreciation event I attended, I was mistaken for a student twice. The freshly 30-year-old me was relishing that people mistook me for a young student. However, the mentor in me felt like I needed to overly defend myself by spewing achievements and accomplishments to try and add more credibility. Try to avoid all the spewing and laugh it off. Remain confident and simply let them know what you do for a living, and that you’re honored to be a part of the program.
So far, I’ve been lucky enough to mentor two college students: my first mentee, Abi, was in the spring of 2021 (read our story here), and my second mentee, Peyton in the spring of 2022. Through their hard work and dedication both mentees were able to secure jobs prior to their graduation, and I couldn’t be prouder. Enjoy some photos of our journeys below.
How to Get Involved
Millennials, let’s continue to make an impact on future generations! Take the first step of getting involved by reaching out to local colleges or organizations to see if they need mentors. If you’re looking for planning tips or would like to chat through opportunities, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.
Ariel is a senior project manager on the manufacturing team. In her role, she helps organize and manage research projects and makes sure tasks stay on their projected timelines. She also oversees the manufacturing literature that flows through the agency. Her favorite part of working at Flint Group is the culture and having flexibility and autonomy with her schedule. In the past she’s been heavily involved with the American Cancer Society as a volunteer. She likes to spend her free time being active, and when she’s not walking her cats in a stroller, she’s making a Pinterest-worthy charcuterie board.