This reblog of CandidKay’s post on mentorship is a worthwhile read for all women and men who work with others, especially in supervisory and leadership roles. And keep in mind that sometimes (often) people serve in “unofficial” leadership roles by virtue of their wisdom and empathy. Having been mentored by several excellent men throughout my career in a male-oriented environment, I recognize many common threads in her post. Among the most interesting and useful pieces of advice she received are: (1) growing up without privilege gives you an advantage, and (2) stick with people who want to create something good, bigger than themselves, something better.
For those of us who have had the good fortune to be mentored by wise people – men or women – it is up to us to pay it forward. Enjoy the read.
Our first meeting seemed anything but fortuitous. There I was, a newly minted 24-year-old, proudly sitting in my cubicle on the executive floor of a Big Brand. I was as close to Mahogany Row (what long-time employees called our row of C-suite offices) as you could get without being a corporate attorney or a secretary.
I had moved to Chicago just days before from a smaller city. And I’d moved, career-wise, from being a magazine editor at a publishing firm to handling corporate communications for a well-known consumer company. A big name with a small headquarters staff, I was given access to the C-suite in a way I assumed was my birthright. Ah yes, the hubris of youth. I had no idea how much this access — and learning — would form the rest of my career.
All of this to say — I was young and green. I was professional of course. Being my mother’s daughter, I’d been trained well. But I was feisty too. As the youngest of six daughters raised in a matriarchal family, I thought of chauvinism as a quaint concept from the Dark Ages. It was something I’d not run into — yet.
However, this Big Brand was in the automotive industry. Hence the “yet” in my previous sentence. All male, at the time, in an era where calendars of women in lingerie (in suggestive positions with tools) hung on office walls.
Into my cubicle walked our CEO. […]