With Women’s History Month in full swing, I was brought back to an event I recently attended.
I spent an afternoon with my daughter’s gifted and talented program listening to children perform as their favorite genius. Many of the students were representing historical women in history, to include my daughter. She chose Marie Curie. Each child dressed up as the historical figure and shared a short speech to share what they believed was important about the person.
As I walked from student to student, I felt like I was in a museum, pressing a button to learn about history. One remarkable student brought a button for people to press. It was a fulfilling experience to learn about historical figures and to have the opportunity to mentor others.
I was a Girl Scout for one year when I was an adolescent. I loved it. I wish I had the opportunity to join earlier in my life and continue on. When three of my daughters started Kindergarten, I signed them up. They loved it at first, but looking back now I forced them to stay past their enjoyment point. This is why I did not sign up my youngest daughter until she asked. I honestly never expected her to ask because Girl Scouts had stopped being the thing to do.
Sure there are many ways to show appreciation to your employees, but at the end of the day, a strong foundation is needed for employees to feel appreciated. We all need clear guidance and a common understanding of how we work with each other and for our customers.
If this foundation is established – a plethora of additional ways of showing employee appreciation is the icing on the cake.
When it comes to picking books to read or put on my Want to Read list, I always gravitate towards historical fiction and historical non-fiction. This strikes me as strange since I absolutely loathed history as a student.
Lately, I have been driven to read about World War II and the badass women who played a role during this era; all because of a book club I attended. I fell head over heels for these heroines and found myself finishing the book, always wanting to read more.
Even more so, I have loved the history of African-Americans or what is often called “Black History.” When I decided to write a post in honor of Black History Month, I asked myself “why was I so drawn to African-American history?”
After some thought, I realized it is because these special individuals made decisions “in-spite of” slavery, oppression, hatred, and fear. Continue reading
Beginning with my first duty assignment as an Army Second Lieutenant, to my time in the Private Sector as an Executive Leader, and today as a Start-up Co-founder the process of mentoring has been key to my success as a leader. I have had five distinct mentors over the years and each has contributed to my leadership vertical development.
Mentoring vs. Coaching
The terms mentoring and coaching are often construed to mean the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. A simple way to understand the difference between mentoring and coaching is: A coach has some great questions for your answers; a mentor has some great answers to your questions (Figure 1). Each of my mentors 1) possessed a great deal of knowledge and business unit know-how, 2) provided me advice and guidance, and 3) shared their experiences with me. Continue reading
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” -Steven Spielberg
When I first started dabbling in finding a mentor, I tried finding people who I aspired to be like or were in careers in which I was interested in. At first, everything seemed great but often I would pause and find myself saying “but that’s not me” or “I don’t want the same things”. I gave up on mentorship for a while and determined that mentoring just wasn’t for me, nor worth my time.
Christina (Purepost Marketing Manager) and I were discussing mentoring a few weeks ago and something struck me. Since I’ve been mentoring Veteran entrepreneurs over the past few years – I mentor out of selfishness.
What I mean by this is if I’m going to devote an hour phone call or coffee every month or two – I need to:
Know they will take some of my advice and apply it to make themselves better either professionally or personally
Become a better person from my relationship with the mentee
After six years of service, I thought I was a “dirt-bag Airman.” I could not wait to separate from the Air Force. That was until I had a supervisor that focused on the positive in me. He realized I had some challenges when it came to my career field, but realized the unique asset I could be if someone provided a little encouragement and accepted me as outside the norm.
For the two years that I worked for him, directly and indirectly, I grew exponentially as a person, Airman, and parent. I improved processes for six offices, cleared out waiting rooms when asked, and started learning the beauty of networking.