January is National Mentoring Month. Join the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in celebrating by thanking your mentors and volunteering with local organizations such as Junior Achievement of Arizona or asking your employer about mentorship opportunities.
Rocking a career, growing professionally and maintaining time for a personal life, otherwise known as having it all, is tough. The 2015 ATHENA recipients and nominees make it look easy, but they reveal they’ve gotten plenty of help from mentors and through mentoring.
Mentors provide insight, support, attention and also lend an ear. Mentoring relationships are obviously valuable for mentees as youth with mentors are more likely to report engaging in positive behavior such as holding leadership positions, volunteering, setting goals and enrolling in college, according to a report by Civic Enterprises in association with Hart Research Associates.
Mentees aren’t the only ones benefiting, though.
“Mentoring is how we constantly learn. I find that I learn a lot of new stuff from the people that I’m mentoring. It’s a parallel relationship,” said Melissa Sanderson, vice president of international affairs for Freeport-McMoRan and 2015 ATHENA Award Recipient.
Ashley Kasarjian, counsel at Snell & Wilmer and the 2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award recipient, has been on both sides and understands the meaningful impact of mentoring. During law school she was mentored by an employment law professor which ultimately helped her decide to specialize in that area of law.
“I think sometimes when you hear ‘mentor,’ it feels really one sided, like you’re just giving them all this information and you’re not getting anything back, but really, it’s quite the opposite,” Kasarjian said. “You have real friendships.”
Becoming a mentor can boost your career through enabling you to create a larger network, help solve issues, increase your personal satisfaction and help better understand how you are perceived by others.
Heidi Jannenga, COO and co-founder of WebPT and 2015 ATHENA Award finalist, started a group within her company, Propel Her, where employees informally mentor each other and discuss things such as body language, confidence, respect and obstacles in climbing the corporate ladder.
Propel Her has received positive feedback and it even helped an employee confidently negotiate a raise.
“At the end of the day, I’m super proud that we’ve inspired someone to come out of their shell,” Jannenga said.
Leah Fregulia, CEO of Arizona School for the Arts and 2015 ATHENA Award recipient, still keeps in touch with her student mentees, even 20 years later.
“I think at every stage, we all have something to benefit. I still have mentors,” Fregulia said. “Mentoring relationships bring back as much to the mentor as the mentor gives.”