The Alliance hosted the “Let’s Talk Mentoring” webinar to give insight on finding and being a mentor at every stage of one’s career.
The webinar was hosted by Jennifer Ryon, AWWC Board Member, Prime Health Services, Jackie Arbelaez, AWWC Ambassador, CORA Physical Therapy, Tracey Reid, AWWC Ambassador, GA Spine & Orthopedics and Haley Carrasquillo, AWWC Senior Program Coordinator.
Everyone can learn and benefit from having a mentor as well as being a mentor. Finding a mentor can be an intimidating task no matter what stage of one is in. Everyone’s journey down this road is different, but the women on this panel gave some helpful insight on how to begin.
Networking is always key. Having genuine and engaging conversations with peers and colleagues will help bring in others to gain knowledge from and the chain will snowball from there. Putting yourself out there to engage with people in or out of your industry will help you gain experience with these types of conversations so you will gain more comfortability with the situation. Little by little, these networking conversations will turn into friendships which will be helpful resources.
A mentor does not always need to be someone who is an “official” mentor. It can be someone who is knowledgeable and gives you helpful insight. Having a peer to collaborate with and bounce ideas off of is also just as beneficial as a “mentor”. Always be open to learning from different age brackets and those in different stages of their careers.
A mentor should be someone who you can share your goals with, and they can lend you advice. The advice may be a directional path to take or something new to try. If it doesn’t seem fitting for you, don’t take it just because it is your mentor. Discuss where you think it wouldn’t fit best for you, and other conversations will blossom from there. The position of a mentor means they are taking a journey with you, and no journey is ever a straight shot.
When you have a mentor, don’t be afraid to ask questions. At the end of the day, the more questions you ask, the more you will learn. Chances are the mentor you are speaking to assumes you don’t know all the answers, so it is best to just open yourself up and be vulnerable.
The women on the panel shared their biggest lessons learned from their mentor(s). Haley shared that putting herself out there and learning new things has been a big lesson for her. Jackie said that it is more beneficial for her to use “I can” rather than negative terms such as “I can’t do this” or “I can never do this”. Tracey’s biggest lesson was to be kind to herself. Being hard on herself is a struggle that she works to overcome. The initiative for that would be to practice saying no to avoid a burnout. Keep a balance and give yourself grace.
There is never a point in anyone’s career when they need to stop learning. You can never have too much knowledge. Don’t feel the need to create a barrier against others to protect a certain image of being perfect. Remember that thinking “I don’t want people to know I don’t know” is never the right mindset because 9/10 they know you don’t know. Being vulnerable and willing to learn are necessary for growth and utilizing a mentor.
Blog by: Melina Ressler, Intern, Alliance of Women in Workers’ Compensation