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From New Mom to Mentor

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Ann Hickey (right) with her mentee at the WISE Within Chicago wrap-up session.

When I agreed to be a mentor for WISE Within, I was initially concerned that as a new mom, I was taking on a bigger time commitment than I could handle. At our first meeting in Chicago, I was quickly put at ease when I was matched with a woman who was just starting out her career in the city. She was eager to absorb any advice I could give — not only related to my work experiences, but on a more personal level, what it had taken for me to get where I was.

At our meetings, our conversation flowed easily. I was impressed by the fact that she had moved to Chicago not knowing anyone in the city, and we found ourselves talking as much about how to meet people and make Chicago her new home as how to take advantage of her first job and acquire skills that would lead to a successful career.

Sharing Experiences

As I mentored, I tried to remember what it was like starting out and what advice I would have found valuable. I realized that at this new stage in my life, I could appreciate the many steps — both personal and professional — it took for me to get to where I am today. Sharing some of those experiences was fun, and I hope it will help her to find her way to what I am sure will be a thriving career.

Some of the advice I gave was influenced by my new role as a mom. Since becoming a mother, I have gained a greater understanding of the importance of work-life balance and have found that having things that make me happy outside of work makes me more productive at work.

Defining Work-Life Balance

It is important to find a job that will allow you to have the work-life balance you need. You must decide what gives you your work-life balance — and that changes as you get older. For me, at this stage, it is my family, but for others it might be friendships, volunteering, playing sports or a variety of other interests and relationships. As my mentee grows in her current job or if she eventually looks for a position someplace else, these are things that I recommended she consider.

Although our mentoring experience has ended, I do not believe our relationship will. I am always eager to hear of her new responsibilities at work, the new activities she has undertaken and the new people she has met. She will create her own career path with its own stages, and I can't wait to see where it leads. I am just thankful to WISE Within for the opportunity to be a part of it.

Ann Hickey

About Ann Hickey

Ann Hickey is the director of program development for the city of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, an office that produces citywide festivals and events for millions of residents and tourists annually. HIckey has held various positions in the last decade within the city in the areas of public relations, marketing and event planning. She received her master's degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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