March is an important month. Not only because it finally moves us from the cold days of winter to the blooms of spring, but also it’s a reminder to celebrate the women in your life. As National Women’s History Month, it can serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting another generation of young girls who will turn into professionals and female entrepreneurs. Since many women have paved the road of success that allows you to be where you are today, it’s worth considering paying it forward as a mentor. Donating your time, energy and expertise will not only benefit girls, tweens and teens, but it could breathe new air into your career and goals.
Here, we spoke with women who are active in mentorship programs to share their stories:
You can help women find balance in personal and professional.
Jen Berson, the founder and president of Jeneration PR, created an active and engaged online community via Facebook called Profitable PR Pros. When members join this group, she provides training, resources and strategies for public relations professionals all over the world… for free! She says many of those who sign-up to be part of this congregation are young women who are first starting their careers.
Over the years, Berson says mentoring has been incredibly gratifying for her as she has encouraged women to take control in both sides of their dreams, personal and professional. She never wants females to feel as if they have to choose, and through her guidance, she can help budding professionals set boundaries and meet their goals. “I feel empowered and passionate about my career and have been able to balance my business with motherhood successfully,” she continues. “Being able to have the best of both worlds has been amazing, and I want to teach other women how to do the same.”
You can help women take their leap of faith.
View this post on Instagram
The CEO and president of Marketing Maven, Lindsey Carnett, mentors young women through the program Women in Sports and Events. She is paired with a mentee who aspires to leave the corporate world and become an entrepreneur. Through regular meetings, she provides leadership training, business planning help, and other essential needs for a person who is ready to take the leap of faith into self-employment. Since she started her own company herself, the struggles she coaches her mentee through are often ones she battled herself. As her mentee crafts her exit from her employer, Carnett continues to push her to prioritize her dream-making action plan.
“I encouraged her to put her business first, take risks, and it’s been so rewarding to see her break through her fears and go for it, even if it wasn’t perfect right out of the gate,” Carnett shared. “This included leaving her corporate job, updating her LinkedIn profile, getting her website live and going on business meetings to secure new clients.”
The experience of motivating her mentee also provided perspective to Carnett, who realized perfection was slowing her down. “I was frustrated by her need for perfection, so the awareness of that quality in her new business launch helped me see that blind spot in myself. Now I’m able to get out of my own way more easily,” she adds.
You help stop the cycle of imposter syndrome.
View this post on Instagram
Many women suffer from a crushing imposter syndrome that leads them to believe they aren’t ‘enough’ — in business, in relationships, in anything. However, by mentoring a young generation, you help females get out of their own way and build confidence, according to Sarah LaFleur, the founder and CEO of M.M. Lafleur. Though it may seem like a long shot, LaFleur says she does respond to cold pitches, mainly if the email is thoughtful and mentions how she can be helpful. Through this practice, she’s built organic mentor-mentee relationships with women who may not be given the same entrepreneurial opportunities as their male counterparts.
“So many boys and young men have gotten a head start in building their businesses because of the networks that they or their dads have. Women, and especially women from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds, have historically been disadvantaged here, and I want to do my tiny part to change that,” she continues. “All business women need to have their ‘golf buddies’ because so many deals get done on the proverbial ‘golf course.’ If I have a chance to connect with women looking for mentorship, my first job is to see how I can be helpful, but perhaps more importantly, connect them to other people who can be part of their network.”
You can help keep more women in the workforce.
Since Berson is dedicated to illustrating ways women can have their family life and a robust career, she considers her mentorship work a way to ensure the female workforce stays strong. Considering many women have left their jobs, either out of choice or necessity, during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to keep females working. Part of her mentorship is giving women access to a strategy that helps them build a path where they can find professional fulfillment and still embrace motherhood. “You can run a business that serves the kind of life that you want to have. You can create the work-life integration that you’re seeking. You can be a profitable CEO and an involved PTA member. And you can make great money while still being in control of your time, as a present and checked-in parent,” she reminds.
You make a considerable difference… for free.
View this post on Instagram
In 2018, Alexa Curtis launched a program geared toward mentorships, especially for young adult women, called the Be Fearless Summit. Through the process of launching this brand, she realized how desperately people needed mentorship. So, what started as an in-person college event has now turned into the ‘Tinder of mentorship’, where you can find your industry match online.
When Curtis mentors young women and they come back to share how she inspired them to write a pitch email or message a role model on LinkedIn, she’s proud. And, she’s amazed at what an impact a mentor can have without spending a dime. “Mentorship is incredible because it’s such a personal and inspiring journey for both the mentor and the mentee: with no requirements or true financial responsibility attached,” she continues. “Not only do I find myself helping these young women be fearless and get out of their comfort zone, but they also help me understand the world through their eyes. That feeling is priceless.”