There are many reasons someone might seek out a mentor or feel the urge to be one. For starters, having a mentor is a good way to seek direction and guidance in life, whether it be for career advice, life lessons, or everything in between. It’s also a good opportunity to grow your professional network and have someone to turn to through career changes or developments.
For mentors, it’s safe to say they often have a passion for helping others and enjoy mentoring as a way to live out that passion. Generally speaking, successful mentors are often individuals who are easy to talk to and give good, practical life advice.
Before you seek out a mentor or investigate being a mentee, hear from these Maven mentors who are making a difference in the Indianapolis community:
MICHELLE WAUGH DAHL
-Indy Maven Board Member
-Founder of Michelle’s Little Free Pantry
-National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Indiana Chapter Co-Chair
-AAPI Pride Indy, Co-Chair
Michelle Waugh Dahl is the founder of Michelle’s Little Free Pantry and the co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Indiana Chapter. After starting Michelle’s Little Free Pantry in February 2017, and with social media making it easy to contact people, mentees naturally started reaching out to Waugh Dahl. The rest, as they say, is history.
When asked why she mentors, Waugh Dahl references a quote from Dr. Seuss, which also doubles as the quote that’s used in the email signature of Michelle’s Little Free Pantry:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
She goes on to say, “In a sometimes ugly world, caring is too often turned into something soft or bad. It is in caring that I have found my people. It is in caring that I do the work that I do. It is in caring that I have surrounded myself with my people and do the work that we do.”
-Indy Maven Board Member
-Director of MBE Initiatives and Strategic Engagement at Morales Group, INC
-Indiana Latino Expo board member
-AXIS Leadership Program mentor
-Women Equity Brunch Development Director
Tiffany Hanson started mentoring when she was invited to be a mentor for the Indiana Latino Expo’s AXIS leadership program a few years ago. Her experience with her first mentee ended up showing her that she had an abundance of helpful advice for young professionals.
“I enjoy mentoring because I can clearly see how I’m able to help others find their own voices, advocate for their wants and needs, and grow and develop as professionals and humans,” Hanson says. “I’ve helped women talk through career changes, learn negotiation skills, start small businesses, and connect with resources and other women that can help them achieve their goals.”
Today, Hanson is the Director of MBE Initiatives and Strategic Engagement at Morales Group, Inc, and strives to help her mentees have the right mindset and some helpful phrases to help them make progress in their lives.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is how much knowledge I’ve gained throughout my career that could help others,” she says. “Common knowledge” to me may not be as common as I think it is, and mentorship has been a great way to remind myself of what I can offer to others.”
ANGELA SMITH JONES, J.D.
-Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at THE HEALTH & HOSPITAL CORP OF MARION CO.
Angela Smith Jones is the current Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at THE HEALTH & HOSPITAL CORP OF MARION CO. In addition to the community, she invests in others through mentoring opportunities. She aims to push her mentees further toward their dreams and enhance their confidence.
“I mentor because I believe that the best legacy one can leave is by investing in others and helping them see their potential and to build them up so that they can obtain and achieve their greatest height in their personal and professional lives,” she says. “I would love for those whom I mentor to say, ‘because she was in my life, my life is better! I have been able to push toward my dreams with more confidence.’”
-Former Executive Director of The Clowes Fund
Beth Casselman is a seasoned mentor who got into mentoring because she herself was mentored. The former Executive Director of The Clowes Fund credits mentoring as something that has enriched her life regardless of the role she played in the relationship.
“Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed to have been mentored and to have served as a mentor,” she says. “I’ve engaged in informal, organically grown mentoring as well as organized, formal matched pairings. Either can be effective.”
When asked some of the mentoring tips she swears by, Casselman shared that she is able to maintain effective mentoring by recognizing mentoring as a relationship that requires intentional cultivation.
“I think the special sauce for the most effective mentoring relationship includes mutual trust and respect, which requires commitment and candor,” she says. “A sense of humor never hurts either!”
Samantha Kupiainen is a regular contributor to Indy Maven.
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