UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School - Carolina Women in Business Conference

3 tips for a successful mentorship

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School - Carolina Women in Business Conference

Panelists share advice for a successful mentorship.

You’ve landed your dream job. Now what?

Building relationships is important to your career development, but it can be hard to engage with colleagues in higher management positions. Enlisting a mentor is a great way to connect with business leaders who can help you gain insights on what it takes to succeed in your field and assist you in tracking your goals, say panelists at the 2015 Carolina Women in Business Conference.

Here are their top tips for establishing a successful mentorship. 

Don’t be afraid to seek out formal mentorships.
It can be hard to ask, “Will you be my mentor?” But as uncomfortable as it may be, mustering up the courage pays dividends in the end.

“It’s easy to have someone who you can just get coffee and converse with from time to time, but there is a lot of value in having someone who can consistently hold you accountable for your goals,” says Taylor Mallard (MBA ’15), associate marketing manager at Burt’s Bees. 

Don’t limit yourself to your organization.
Though great mentors can surely be found within your organization, engaging with leaders from other companies can help you gain valuable insights, advice and perspectives that you might not get from someone you report to.

“A mentor’s role is to make people who don’t work for them feel successful,” says Sherri Steuwer, former vice president of ExxonMobil.

Recognize your value.
Consider what you bring to the table as a mentee – such as the ability to help senior managers gain insight into the millennial generation, which is beginning to shape company cultures.

“Mentorship is a two-way street,” says Paula Alexander, director of sustainable business at Burt’s Bees. “Mentees often times don’t realize that we can learn just as much from them as they can learn from us.”

Follow up.
Once you’ve planted the seed with someone, follow up to establish a formal mentor/mentee relationship sooner than later.