According to a study from Catalyst, 65 percent of women who were mentored became mentors themselves.
Youth.gov also claims that mentorship leads to higher college enrollment rates, improves interpersonal skills, and decreases the likelihood of using drugs and alcohol.
But there are good reasons why you should find a powerful female mentor or encourage new staff to become mentors!
Finding a female mentor who is in your corner rallying for your success motivates you to set goals, understand challenges, and embrace the diversity of women in the workforce.
Here are some insights into the power of female mentors and how to find one:
Learn to take calculated risks
Former First Lady Michelle Obama credits her mentor as someone who encouraged her to take chances. She tells More Magazine that her mentor was a single mom who inspired her to open a daycare program for some of her faculty members and staff members’ children while at Princeton.
After arriving at the White House, Obama launched her own mentorship program that pairs disadvantaged girls with powerful women.
Taking risks in your career and professional development leads to learning valuable skills you wouldn’t have otherwise, advancing faster in your career, and finding or creating new opportunities.
So when we, the female entrepreneurs of America, want to set up our own business and hire new staff for our start-up, encourage applicants to become mentors as well!
Open more doors
You may already have the support of your professors or friends to encourage you to reach your career goals, maybe via an online education program, but a mentor from your industry can open doors that others simply can’t.
Look for a mentor in a boss or senior co-worker while completing an internship or working in an entry-level job. I asked for an internship, and it worked for me! Many of us know what it takes to become successful, just like our ancestors did when they came over to find happiness and respect.
Look for open positions at a company like LifeLock that consistently makes the “Best Place to Work” list and offers career advancement, tuition-assistance programs, free public transportation, and voluntary benefits like pet insurance.
Large companies like Verizon are also known for their thriving work culture, competitive salaries, and high-percentage match for 401k plans. There are so many steps to open doors successfully, but you have to see them and go for it!
Whether you want to stay at your entry-level job or move on, look for a senior manager or boss to give you advice and guide you through the skills and mindset you need to move forward and perhaps want to upgrade your education.
Plan a strategic path to success
Oscar Award-winning actress and producer Charlize Theron credits her manager, J.J. Harris, with being her mentor and greatest advocate. She tells New York Magazine that Harris encouraged her to say “no” and not to be grateful to land just any job.
Through the power of saying “no,” Theron learned that she could build a successful and satisfying career without relying on a man to do it for her.
If you don’t, chances are you’ll be taken advantage of and get over-stressed or overworked in no time. Then, you might be looking for a low-stress position, even if you don’t hold a college degree. But is that want you really want?
When looking for a mentor, take Theron’s lead by finding someone who encourages strategic goal setting and pushes you outside your comfort zone.
Rely on your mentor to learn how to put together a plan for your success and when to say “no” to dead-end opportunities. Changing yourself is generally not needed at all. It isn’t worth it, and you don’t need it, do you?
Establish high standards
Sally Singer, the Creative Digital Director of Vogue, says she was fortunate enough to have three powerful female mentors.
Her first mentor, Margaret Simmons of Travel Holiday magazine, taught her to have incredibly high standards and to never compromise her view.
Women are the most common victims of migration issues, we all know that, so if you can, try to take on a mentor role to help those who need it most.
Your mentor should take a similar role in your life and career. She should help you define your values and point of view to create a clearer image of the work you want to accomplish and how to get there.
Without a firm understanding of your own ideas, ideals, and standards, it’s impossible to apply them to your career trajectory.
Grants for Women in Small Business
as an ambitious woman, you may want to start your own business. For women and minorities who want to start their own small businesses, the biggest roadblocks to success are insufficient finances.
In order to pay rent for storefronts, production of homemade materials, marketing, and payroll, many women will put a second mortgage on their house or go into deep credit card debt. However, risking the future of family finances often does not pay off for women, as many small businesses fail within their first year.
Taking such a risk isn’t always necessary, however, and women who want to turn their hobby or vocation into a small business need to look to business grants.
While many television commercials and books promise business grants for women who own small businesses, it can be tough to find the right grant. Much will depend on developing your hard and soft skills. That’s crucial!
The first, and perhaps most important, fact that woman entrepreneurs should understand about federal government grants is that they almost entirely go to high-tech companies that are aiming for a government contract. There are plenty of state government and private industry grants available for women in small businesses.
Finding the right grant
Government and private grants given to small businesses run by women are often specific to a certain industry. For those starting healthcare businesses, applying for a grant through the Bristol Meyers Foundation increases the chance of receiving a business grant.
And if running a small business isn’t your cup of tea, after all, applying for a decently paying might be a good alternative as long as you understand how to negotiate a good salary for your efforts. Women still get underpaid at so many positions!
Women who are starting small businesses involved in accounting can go through the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting for a business grant, with a great chance at success.
Finding the right grant is primarily about applying to organizations that are interested in funding further development of ideas and practices within a certain industry.
After all, while business grants don’t necessarily have strings attached, granting organizations do need to see some sort of professional benefit from the small business they are providing money to.
Women and minority small business owners interested in getting their business off the ground should go to Funds Net Services or other websites available to women in small businesses looking for development or startup grant money.