When reading articles or watching educational videos on developing your professional career, most people will advise you to look into mentorship. Mentors are experienced professionals in your workplace who can assist and teach you about skills valuable for building your career. Such skills can be as general as writing up your resume into its most appealing version, or technical and specialized skills that are unique to what you do. To help new Collegiate Women in Business members adjust to the organization and the different benefits it provides such as events and networking, the mentorship program was developed. We asked VP of Mentorship, Elizabeth Sweeney, some questions to help inform members about the CWIB mentorship program.
How would you summarize the mentorship program?
The mentorship program is a place for girls of various backgrounds to come together and simply help each other. Helping them with school work, personal, or social aspects of their lives. The mentorship program is what you make of it. If you want to see your mentee/mentor at the monthly meeting, you can save a seat for them. If you want to go out and have lunch weekly, go for it! The whole purpose is to pair up two ladies and hopefully allow them to use our three pillars and encourage each other.
What are the benefits of having a mentor?
Mentors can help with whatever you need. As previously mentioned, the mentorship program is what you make of it. I have heard feedback from girls that have had their mentors go above and beyond. Mentors have texted random encouraging texts, helped with job and internship activities, met up for lunch, and even go for a fun night out of bowling. Having said that, the benefits can be any amount of anything, but it is truly creating a familiar face in a time of your life that can be crazy.
What made you want to become VP of Mentorship?
VP of Mentorship has been a position for years. The reason why the mentorship program is run the way it was is solely based on two facts. First, I wanted young Hokies to find somebody that can be more than a friendly face. Getting involved as a freshman and seeing other girls already know what their major is and who their friends are can be intimidating. I want women to feel empowered and loved by girls in the room.
Secondly, I wanted somebody to help young Hokies, knowing what I needed help with my early years at Tech. I needed somebody to tell me that there is free tutoring offered on campus. I needed to learn basic things as a new Blacksburg local. I was in the mentorship program last year. In my head, I thought that it can be a strong associate to CWIB. With a little bit of rewiring, I think steps to continue to improve the program are in place.
Participating in this mentorship program can be greatly beneficial for internships or jobs, having a second opinion on professional questions, and all things Collegiate Women in Business. Not only do you have another familiar face in the many women who are in the organization, you also have a guide to help you with professional questions that you might not know who to ask. Plus, previous mentees can eventually become a mentor to other new members and pass down the knowledge they have acquired!
Many students go off to find professional mentors in their workplace for advice stemming from personal experience in their chosen career path, or simply wanting someone to help further their knowledge in their respective field. There are countless benefits to mentors, who can be a support system, advisor, and coach all in one. You can look through your company’s Human Resources department to see if your workplace provides a mentorship program, or search outside the office such as on LinkedIn or other networking sites. Finding a professional mentor can be especially helpful for those just starting to work in the real world, and are not sure where to begin learning. Befriending those in your department is always an additional way to find a support system when just starting out, which will benefit your collaboration abilities and help you to work on solving problems with others. There is never a time when having a network of professionals to turn to won’t help you with your career! Begin surrounding yourself with those who have goals, ambitions, and are looking to support others now!
By: Gyu Ri Kim