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“Having a well-placed, successful mentor can be the difference between success and failure on the leadership track – but it is definitely more an art than a science for the mentor and the mentee.” – Dana Theus, InPower Coaching

As we gear up for the fall, at the American Marketing Association - DC Chapter (AMADC) our thoughts turn to mentoring as we prepare for the October 1st kick-off of our mentoring program, the “Marketing Mentors Network.”. Now in its 14th year, our mentor program has well over 650 alumni that are part of the DC metro area community of marketers. The “Marketing Mentors Network” program has evolved over the years to better meet participant needs, but the core of the program remains the same; it is committed to building relationships that encourage sharing, learning and support career growth. The program also includes a certified career coach, Dana Theus, the President and CEO of InPower Coaching. Dana sits on the advisory board to help guide programming and lead the trainings. To get a little peek of the insights Dana shares, read on for her article discussing mentoring and its impact.  (It’s good advice for everyone, not just women!) To learn more about Marketing Mentors Network and apply to join our 2018-2019 Program, click here. 4 Things Women Need To Know About Mentors By Dana Theus I recently started hosting a radio show interviewing CEOs of small-to-mid-sized companies. One question that male leaders love to answer is “tell us about your mentors?” It turns out that very few men make it to the top without mentors. For women, this experience is less consistent. I believe it’s because the “old girls club” works more like a sewing circle than a smoke-filled room and for better or worse, some women just don’t feel comfortable bringing up the next generation in a deliberately helpful manner. This is changing, of course, as more women succeed, but I find that women benefit more from “learning how” to mentor and be a mentee. It makes a difference for leadership mentors for women, although it’s not as culturally obvious to us how mentorship works and how we can use it to our advantage. In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg devotes a whole chapter to the subject of mentorship and she calls it “Are You My Mentor?” because she observes that too many women go around looking for a mentor like they’re looking for a golden slipper. I love that chapter and if you haven’t read the book yet, do so and make sure you read this chapter.

Here is some of the wisdom about mentors combined from Sheryl and me.

1. You don’t “get” a mentor, you build a mentoring relationship. Good mentorship – the kind that can really help your career – just feels like a good business relationship between people with complimentary experiences who help each other. Many people actively seek our mentors during career transitions, but trying to make it happen may not work. Most of the best mentor/mentee relationships I know of are between people who don’t even use those terms when referring to each other. If you are an emerging leader who wants to be in a mentoring relationship, do your part to meet senior leaders in a business context where you and they can develop natural chemistry. 2. Good mentorship goes both ways, so be prepared to give and take from the relationship. The best mentors learn from their mentees and use this insight to sharpen their own leadership and management skills. This requires that mentees be willing to “give” to the relationship (i.e., learn what your mentor values that you can provide and provide it!). For example, the mentee can provide “grassroots intelligence” on business issues, corporate culture, market intelligence etc. from a perspective the mentor doesn’t have regular access to. Mentors and mentees can also use mentoring discussions as opportunities for personal self-reflection, feedback and growth. Part of developing the relationship is learning how you can help each other. Read more here.