I love getting advice from mentors. Whenever I need to make a big decision, I always talk to people who have more experience than me. After all of my achievements in my career such as raising millions for women’s causes, running a national nonprofit, working at Levo, and writing a book. I feel grateful to have had so many generous people investing in me. One of the ways I show appreciation for what they have done is by helping others achieve their goals. However, with numerous mentorship requests every week and only a day’s worth of hours, I needed to get smart about deciding who to help. Below are the top 4 qualities that my favorite mentees have which make me feel grateful to help guide them on their career journey. I also look for these qualities when young professionals approach me.
- They’re Able to Take Coaching and Learn From It
Mentors help you achieve clarity through guidance and encouragement. So the best mentees can quickly embrace and adapt their advice by being confident and knowing how to solicit feedback effectively. Active learners who are comfortable with their own lack of knowledge make for coachable mentees with lots of great questions.
- Proactive Personality
Ok, I actually don’t feel like they’re pestering me, but I know it likely feels that way to them because they frequently say things such as “I’m so sorry to bug you.” Proactive and eager mentees always get the best results because they understand it is their responsibility to make the relationship work. I love hearing about how my advice turns out in real-life scenarios from these types of students.
- They Assist Me
I often have young professionals contact me who act as if I am better than them and that it is a favor to even respond to their emails. This could not be any farther from the truth! My mentees play a vital role in my success, especially as a working mom. Mentees who are good know that helping a woman’s career advance is something that benefits both parties. My current mentees have done everything from helping me coordinate events to conducting research and even babysitting. One of them is even a buyer for a famous fashion brand and provides me with tips on what to wear to all my public appearances.
- They Eagerly Run Through the Doors I Open for Them
Many people walk or skip when they see an opportunity, but Uber mentees run. If I can help them by introducing them to the right person, securing tickets to an event, or getting them a job interview, they will always make the most of it. I work hard for them because I trust in their abilities, and they always arrive on time dressed appropriately. They ask questions that show they are engaged and then follow up with thank-you notes. My mentees reflect well on me and make me look good.
One of my mentors and heroes is Marie Wilson. Not only did she build the Ms. Foundation, but she also co-founded Take Our Daughters to Work Day and The White House Project. (Watch Marie Wilson’s Office Hours) Recently, I was part of a committee that organized an event for a women’s network. When she arrived and saw that she was featured prominently as part of an oral history project, she said to me, “Well, isn’t it nice to have people in high places looking out for you.” I laughed along with her, knowing that the recognition I was helping her receive was only a small part of what she deserved after all she’d done for me. Mentorship is always beneficial for everyone involved.