After attending a weekend portfolio building workshop at University of Oregon’s SOJC, I was reminded of the power of mentorship.
Many of us, at one time or another, have benefited from a personal or professional mentor in our lives. In fact, Public/Private Ventures conducted a study for Big Brothers Big Sisters and found that after 18 months of meeting with their “Bigs,” “Littles” were:
- 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
- 52% less likely to skip school
- 37% less likely to skip a class
- 33% less likely to hit someone
But what does this look like in the professional world?
Traditionally, professional mentorships consisted of a learned authority figure granting wisdom and knowledge to a newcomer. This model provides a safe and supportive environment where skills can be built and lessons can be learned with a safety net in place.
Today, mentors realize that a two-way relationship creates a “learning organization.” When business leaders welcome the fresh perspectives of young industry novices, the return on investment can lead to organizational growth.
- “Peer mentoring” or a “lean in circle” used by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, consists of similar-minded individuals meeting to share with and support one another.
- “Reverse mentoring” compliment of former General Electric’s Chairman, Jack Welch, occurs when younger employees help older employees stay current.
- “Speed mentoring” events hosted by New York Women in Communications facilitate a speed dating style exchange between potential mentors and mentees.
Each organization must navigate its own mentorship approach based on internal culture and objective goals. But, ultimately, the safety nets for creative growth can be found and harnessed on all levels.
Thank you to the many and memorable mentors and mentees who have bravely ventured into the uncertain world of personal and professional growth!