My first job out of college was as a financial planner. I was good at it. Within two years, I was being groomed for management. One of only a handful of women in my company, I was serving as the top advisor in southern California, and had reached every financial milestone I’d set for myself.
Not surprisingly, success came at a price: 12-hour workdays, including weekends. What was fun at first just became exhausting. I was sick almost every month and gaining weight. My work life was out of balance and I was no longer felt happy about it. That’s when I knew I needed help. Specifically, I needed advice from a mentor.[bctt tweet=”Regardless of industry, function, title, or nationality there are universal truths to working women’s stories. http://bit.ly/2bv1Qpc” via=”no”]
From day one my company assigned me a mentor. He was the reason I succeeded as quickly as I did. When on my first day of cold calling the first person I called rudely hung up on me, he gave me a beer, talked me off the ledge, and got me to pick up the phone again. He pushed when necessary but was encouraging and kind about it.
When I got engaged and began to think seriously about family, I got worried. Having a family was critical to me, but given my break-neck work pace I didn’t know how I was going to continue to reach professional goals and have a quality home life. I needed a different mentor – a successful woman who understood the female perspective and pressures, and had walked my desired path already. Problem was I didn’t personally know anyone at my level who also had kids. When I talked with girlfriends, it seemed this problem was common. We were all looking for the elusive female mentor.
But I don’t give up easily and that frustrating situation planted the seed that grew into Women Evolution. It launched me into determined research and exploration, which produced a treasure trove of useful tips for cultivating and nurturing successful female leaders via mentoring. To my surprise, I learned along the way that, while having access to a high level, female executive is helpful, it isn’t the only mentorship method that works. It turns out there’s great value in peer mentorship.
Everyone has a story and life experiences that have propelled us to where we are today. We can really benefit from learning from each other’s successes as well as failures. What WE’ve found to be the most important part of peer mentorship is the singular feeling that we are not alone. Finding our professional tribe – people on a similar journey – is beyond comforting. It’s invaluable.
Regardless of industry, function, title or nationality, there are universal truths to working women’s stories. This is why Women Evolution insists on capitalizing on the beautiful opportunity to learn from each other. Every year since our Online Mentoring Program (OMP) launched, WE’ve granted scholarships to talented, determined women who might not otherwise have access to the kind of support and leadership development our program provides.
Even before Women Evolution formally launched, since 2014, we’ve granted these scholarships. I’m excited to introduce you to our 2016 scholarship recipients. We’ve placed this great bunch of women, driven to succeed and lead, into two peer mentorship groups.
Ekaterina Loshkareva of California who also works in business and finance.
Kari Szakal from California who works in the university system as an executive assistant.
Kayla Jamison of Idaho who works in education and training.
Ashley Hernandez of California who works in Information Technology.
Follow us on Facebook as we introduce each of them more in depth and share their progress as they learn these critical leadership skills. We hope you will help support them in this journey. As you do, maybe you’ll gain insight into areas of your career that could benefit from some peer mentorship.
Maybe you’ll even apply and find yourself as a scholarship recipient next year. It could happen. Give it a shot!