Finding a Mentor in a Young Office Environment

Posted In: Mentors / Networking
Posted On: 3/21/2017

Tracy: I recently changed careers from working in education where I had many female colleagues to a new position in a startup where I’m the only woman. Do you have a recommendation for how I can find the right mentor given my new situation?

Jane: It’s great to look outside of your company and establish some mentor relationships with people that are in the community. Consider leveraging your college connections and looking for alumni clubs locally that might be a fit. Also, explore and expand your social network that you’ve developed locally to see if there are any options. And, don’t over focus on finding a female mentor; in fact, in my own career I’ve had mainly male mentors. So much of the mentor relationship is about chemistry, so I would focus on finding someone you really connect with.

Tracy: Once I identify a possible mentor, do you have any advice for how I can go about approaching them to discuss a mentorship?

Jane: Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone directly and ask if they’ll have coffee with you or an informational meeting. An amazing number of women executives, like myself, love spending time to meet with someone interested in developing their career like you. Now, it doesn’t always workout from a mentorship perspective—you might not have chemistry. But, even in that case, they may know someone in their own network who may be a better fit for you.