4 Min ReadCareer 03 May 2020
If there is one thing I have learned in my short period of being a career-driven woman, it is that mentorship is highly valuable. If there is anything else I have learned, it is that actually finding a mentor is not always an easy task. Furthrmore, it's important that you don't limit yourself to just one. Making genuine, authentic connections should be an ongoing effort you make at all times. Don't just settle for one and call it a day, keep this up and expand your roster of mentors to keep learning, connecting, and building your network.
According to Forbes, 75% of executives say mentoring has been critical to their career development. Additionally, the American Society for Training and Development has found that the time and insight that mentors offer their mentees can not only help them bypass mistakes but also can contribute to building future leaders of their industry.
According to Forbes, 75% of executives say mentoring has been critical to their career development.
Although finding a mentor is a highly coveted activity — I have noticed that what has worked for myself, isn't common knowledge among Millennial and Generation Z professionals. So here are some tips I've learned as I've grown as both a professional and a mentee.
1. Be eager to be a STUDENT
Mentors want rising professionals to be genuine about achieving their career goals. They'll almost never want to hear about your goal to make six-figures in five years, but rather want to know about what position you see yourself in. This could mean setting goals like achieving greater seniority in your current company or gaining new experience in a new department. If you are unsure of your exact goals, that's okay! Mentors highly appreciate those who are eager to be a student and just learn. You will discover that most mentors in leadership roles never obtained their position with a "typical" route.
Mentors highly appreciate those who are eager to be a student and just learn.
That's why true mentors want to teach someone who is adaptable and open-minded. Remember, this is an investment of their time and effort, with the intention of contributing to a future industry leader.
2. Connect, connect, connect!
Finding a specific mentor is like a sales job. If you are adamant about learning from a certain person, stay connected with their social platforms, keeping up to date on their current work is crucial. If you don't know your mentor and what they do, why should they want to know you? I have found great success with an old-fashioned "cold call," but through the less old-fashioned email. Begin your message to them with something that actually resonates with you (and no, not the first search link that shows up on Google). It is vital to be the person that stands out among all the emails they're getting to show you are committed to achieving your career goals. If they don't answer within a week or two, follow up. People are busy and emails get lost among the different priorities and updates they're constantly juggling. Besides, industry leaders admire persistence.
3. Work For Free
Anyone you meet will rarely ever want to give you something without something else in return. With that being said, if you are trying to obtain a mentor who has a busy schedule or is a high-profile professional, you might be able to get the teaching you need by working for free. If you are a good writer, offer blog writing services or drafts of press releases. Have a passion for social media branding? Be a social media manager if their company or personal brand needs help. Do you think you have someone else in your network that they could benefit from? Introduce them. Gary Vee is notorious for emphasizing the importance of working for free as a side hustle in obtaining your long-term career goals.
4. Be Fearless
Attending networking events and conferences are great ways to connect with other people in your industry, especially mentors. But, sometimes, you can find a mentor on a subway ride or at a grocery store line. Being fearless and simply not giving an F* about if a person likes you or not, is the right attitude for gaining the respect of a mentor. Again, for mentors, this is an investment of their time with the intention of molding industry leaders — acting bold is vital.
Being fearless and simply not giving an F* about if a person likes you or not, is the right attitude for gaining the respect of a mentor.
Besides, if they don't like you, it wasn't meant to be anyways.
5. Be Human
Once you have a mentor, or even just someone in your network, it is highly important to foster that relationship. Like any relationship, this is work. If you met them for thirty seconds at a conference, send them emails throughout the year. If you have known them for five years, send them emails throughout the year. They do not even need to be grand news, a request for advice, or even career-related — just a check-in is enough — being genuine builds trust in your credibility and reputation. During this time, I have reached out to multiple people I haven't talked to in over a year just to see if they are healthy and doing well because at the end of the day, I care about them, and caring can go a long way for your personal and professional goals.
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I am a proud Black business owner carrying a line of lip colors for the woman who wants to shine. At Vatarie Cosmetics you can find cruelty-free and vegan lip care products, including clear lip gloss and liquid matte lipsticks. The line is still under development, so there are more products in the making that you'll hear more about soon!
My products are high-quality and it is my dream to take my brand into high-end storefronts across the nation and even across the globe.
I have worked my way into my entrepreneurial career as I did not come from money. The goal of my cosmetic line is to bring excitement to everyone who tries the line. My products are high-quality and it is my dream to take my brand into high-end storefronts across the nation and even across the globe. I believe that with added makeup and a good set of threads, anybody can confidently face the world. I am a proud and firm supporter of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and a proud member and supporter of the LGBTQIA community.
There have been plenty of hardships that I have had to face throughout my entire life, the most recent being the recent death of my father who passed far too soon. I have never allowed these hardships to deter me, and won't start now. I will continue to progress and work hard to build my business, knowing that this is what my father would have wanted.
About the Vatarie Line: What It's All About
Upon launching the line, I had the mission of inspiring every human to find their inner beauty and to have fun along the way. With this in mind, my products are designed for people of all genders, races, religions, and creeds. The Vatarie line will have more to offer customers very soon as I am continually working on developing products and expanding the line. In addition to the lip colors currently offered, the line will soon include highlighters, eyeshadows, and new lip gloss additions.
I believe that no one needs makeup to validate themselves, and we are all beautiful on our own. I do believe, though, that makeup can make life a lot more fun. Now more than ever we are living in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness. Sometimes all we need to change our moods and get away from that darkness is something to help us feel better and more vibrant — this is where a pop of makeup and a well put together outfit can really make an impact.
Now more than ever we are living in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness.
I encourage everybody to embrace their inner beauty and inner style, and express themselves no matter what. My line of products is inspired by high fashion and designed to make a bold statement. The running theme across my products is empowerment at every stage and level. I create products that make my customers feel happy, and I ensure I am happy myself with my products before I release every single one. There is no place for cutting corners as I believe in producing the highest quality product.
I bring my sense of humor and quirky personality into my products and you can see this in the names of each item. Take the lip color "Blood Money," which signifies all the money, tears, sweat, and yes, blood that was put into the brand. Let me tell you, it was hard work, and it still is hard work, but at the end of the day, it fulfills me to know the type of quality I am providing. It gives me great pride to create a line of legendary products that will positively affect someone and bring them to a place of self-love and acceptance.
About the Past that Gives My Business Meaning
I have struggled over the years with mental abuse that has left me feeling as if "I wasn't enough." Added to that, being a Black woman in an industry that is predominantly dominated by other races, I had to work harder to get to where I am today.
Coming from a broken home, my family struggled with addiction, making my entire childhood a miserable nightmare. My mother abandoned us as she was being physically abused, and it was up to us the kids to do everything necessary to take care of the home and each other. We eventually ended up living with my grandmother in Miami, Florida. At a very young age, I had to endure physical and mental abuse and was locked up. At the age of 22, I lost my younger sister to gun violence and found myself raising her one-year-old son as my own.
Being a Black woman in an industry that is predominantly dominated by other races, I had to work harder to get to where I am today.
While my past was a rough one, it is what has made me the strong, independent, and vibrant woman I am today. That woman strives to be her best every day and works tirelessly to provide a line of only the best cosmetics products. I couldn't see this while I was living through those bad situations and struggling to grow up, but I can look back and see how I was made more resilient because of my hardships.
As I grieve over my father's recent passing, I become stronger. It is this added personal strength that will push me forward in everything I do and will be reflected in my work ethic and in the development of new products for my Vatarie line of cosmetics.