Wise Within Chicago pairs meet for the first time at the kick-off session.
I once had a conversation with a female colleague about needing a mentor. (Read: I’ve had several conversations with many female colleagues about needing a mentor.) My first question is always the same: Why?
If you can’t convey why you need a mentor, then there is a good chance you won’t fully benefit from one. My follow-up questions usually center around that colleague’s needs, aspirations and past mentors. And if I haven’t lost her in the barrage of questions by then, I’m usually sold on her as a mentee. Thus begins the mentoring pre-work for WISE Within, the national signature mentoring program of WISE that kicks off each spring.
Finding the Right Mentor
I have had the privilege of leading WISE mentoring on the local and national level for many years, and what most people don’t realize about WISE Within — and mentoring in general — is that finding the right mentor is nearly as important as finding the right mentee.
Anyone will tell you that a successful female executive, particularly in sports, deserves to be admired. It takes a certain set of characteristics to break through the gender barrier and achieve C-level status. However, ask one of those successful female executives a piece of advice she would give her younger self, and many will say, “Do the extra work and it will pay off tenfold.” It’s hard to believe we still have to be told about being extraordinary and going the extra mile, but that’s likely because the first step is always the hardest — having the right attitude.
Finding the Right Mentee
The right attitude involves setting expectations for yourself and others without ever giving up in the face of adversity. It’s not about what you do but how you do it. The approach and intent behind our actions are the most revealing of our character and potential for success, which is why the right attitude is so important and can be the most challenging attribute to find in a strong mentee. This is what the WISE Within chapter committees are looking for as the application process comes to a close and the matching process begins.
Finding a successful match is about personality, commitment, drive and the right attitude in both the mentor and mentee. When a committee attempts to match a mentor and mentee, it relies on an unofficial profile of each candidate that is revealed through the 50 questions presented in the application. It’s one part matchmaker, one part hiring manager.
The mentee candidates who provide honest and thorough responses are typically the ones who, once accepted, enter the program with an open mind and enough dedication to graduate from the program after six months, having achieved results and a new professional friend in their mentor. While the application is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s crucial in determining the strength of a mentee in WISE Within, and it all starts with the right attitude.
About Jorie Sax
Jorie Sax is the digital marketing associate manager for MillerCoors. Her duties include providing thought leadership on mobile, social and content strategies, as well as driving an innovation pipeline of ideas and new technology to achieve the next level of real-time marketing. Sax recently transitioned into her role after four years of overseeing brand marketing compliance and helping guide the competitive digital and social media vision of the company. Prior to joining MillerCoors, Sax spent nine seasons with the Chicago White Sox in corporate partnerships.
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