Michelle Blake with other program participants during a breakout exercise at a WISE Within NYC Metro group session.
Mentoring, mentorship and mentee are words tinged with ambiguity that often invokes negative feelings. Generally, someone has to convince you to participate and even then, there are no guideposts to lead the way.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the WISE Within mentor program. I knew that my career was at a crossroads and needed some guidance, but wasn’t sure how the program would engage and enrich my professional experience. After speaking with several people, I decided to apply, and it was one of the best and most empowering decisions I’ve made.
I was partnered with a mentor who had just started a new job, so I was immediately concerned. Would she have enough time for me? Would we be able to meet the number of times required? Initially, we tried to set up meetings that didn’t work out for either one of us; however, once we finally did meet it was truly life changing. She and I hit it off immediately. We had so much in common, even down to our “colorful” language.
Confidence and Empowerment
After our first meeting, I faced a challenge in my professional life: It was the beginning of review season and I was having a few issues with an employee. Never encountering this before, I was unsure of what to do. I knew I had another meeting set up with my mentor, so I chose to discuss the situation with her. She spent over two hours making a plan about how to manage the situation. She was so amazing and empowering. I walked away from that meeting not only with a fully flushed-out game plan, but also with the confidence to implement it. I would not have been able to implement and execute what was necessary to get this troubled employee back on track without the guidance of my senior executive mentor.
I am so grateful for her. I know our relationship won’t end because the program is over. My mentor is outstanding and I am so happy I took the time to fill out the “lengthy” application.
About Michelle Blake
Michelle Blake Wilson is the Managing Director, Marketing & Communications of United States Tennis Association, Eastern Section. A Columbia University MBA, Wilson became the youngest managing director in USTA Eastern history. She was also a recipient of The Network Journal 40-Under-Forty award, which recognizes the next generation of African-American leaders who, with a commitment to the development of their communities, are exceptional performers in their professions.
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