I’ve never been a fan of International Women’s Day. It’s always felt like one day devoted to work we should be doing
Founded in 1914, International Women’s Day has been declared “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.”
I 100% believe in the mission—but on all days, always.
For the last three years, I‘ve dedicated my life to making mentorship available for women. That work started with mentorship events, and then quickly led to a community of Charlotte women who wanted to contribute to and learn from one another.
Through the observation of patterns in that community, we built a new model of mentorship called Pop-Up Mentor. Rather than one mentor having all the answers, we help individuals build networks of mentors and coach organizations on how to build cultures of mentorship.
The model breaks mentorship down into three forms: Informal, Formal, & Sponsors.
Informal mentors are sources of great inspiration or professional foundation. We may never actually have a conversation with these mentors. However, their work makes a huge impact on our own. Examples may include: books, thoughtleaders, podcasts, songs, quotes. Think of these mentors as the North Star of our careers.
Formal mentors are what we traditionally think of as mentorship. The one-on-one brain-picking that happens when someone more experienced takes time to share their experiences or journey.
Sponsorship is the pinnacle of mentorship. These folks not only have answers, they also have access to opportunities that will accelerate our careers. These relationships take time & intention to develop but are absolutely worth the investment.
Through this work, I’ve learned, witnessed, and lived the impact of mentorship.
Mentorship is most critical where we are underrepresented. Mentorship bridges socioeconomic & diversity inequities. Mentorship transcends age, race, and gender. Mentorship gives value to our unique adversities, experiences, and lives by sharing the wisdom with those who need it.
I’ve also learned that mentorship is innately biased. We want to help folks who remind us of an earlier version of ourselves.
Understanding this now, I make this challenge to the Queen City. Invest time & mentorship into folks who do not look like you. I guarantee that mentorship will go further.
This is the work I do every day.
That’s why on International Women’s Day, I take the day off.
Instead, I use March 8th to pause and reflect on the progress made in the last 364 days, as well as to get clear on the work ahead. I also recognize & thank the many, many great women in my life.
I invite you to do the same. Then, use the next 364 days to share knowledge, experiences, & resources to bridge inequities around us.
Wisdom from the Pink Mentors
PHOTO CREDIT: Heather Liebler
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