Women Mentoring Women: Strategies to Lift Us as We Rise
by Women In Trucking Staff, on Jul 27, 2023 10:48:02 AM
Today, women make up approximately half of the workforce and have proven they’re just as talented and capable as their male counterparts. However, while the percentages of women are increasing in the C-suite, board rooms, middle-management, and behind the wheel, the transportation industry still has progress to make in gender diversity and representation.
Many believe a lack of mentorship is holding back progress. While you can take advantage of such mentoring programs as the WIT Mentor Match Program, there are additional active steps you can take to leverage mentor and mentee relationships.
During a special panel on mentorship at the 2022 Women In Trucking Accelerate! Conference & Expo last November, several women involved in mentoring relationships shared their experiences. This panel discussion consisted of facilitator Cynthia O’Neill, Founder, LeadHERalliance, and panelists Sarah Statlander, Vice President Human Capital and Talent, Yellow; Eileen Dabrowski, Director of Learning and Development, ReedTMS Logistics; J-Ann Tio, Chief Strategy Officer, Arrive Logistics; and Mindy Brown, Transportation Consultant.
Throughout the panel discussion, attendees had the opportunity to hear stories of successful, productive mentoring relationships; learn various styles and formats of mentoring relationships; and gain an understanding of how to engage in a mentor and mentee relationship.
What do you look for in a mentor?
“I surround myself with people who challenge me to be a better version of myself,” says Dabrowski. “One of the things that I look for is someone who is going to hold me accountable in the same way that I hope to hold them accountable. It’s important to find someone who compliments you, is very real with you, and will be committed to challenging you to be the best version of yourself.”
How do you identify and recruit a mentor?
“In my own personal experience, I think it’s great how mentorship and networking have started to merge,” says Tio. “If it’s within your comfort zone, explore putting yourself out there in situations like going to conferences and participating in discussions and networking. The best mentor and mentee relationships are those that are undefined. The relationship starts with getting to know someone, while building trust and respect. Then you start asking questions and asking for advice and it just naturally evolves. At the end of the day, becoming a mentor requires simply putting yourself out there and building a greater network.”
Have you ever struggled in a mentor and mentee relationship?
“I have had to coach other people through those situations in a mentor and mentee relationship,” says Statlander. “It comes back to the foundation of having an open and honest relationship with each other and mutual respect to be able to have the difficult conversations. If those tenants exist, the conversations will be that much easier to have. I also recommend seeking out another trusted advisor to coach through that conversation.”
How has being a mentor to others impacted your life?
“I had a great mentor in the industry, and she told me you can’t control the weather, but you can control how you respond,” says Brown. “This is not an easy industry for women, but she taught me you’re not going to be defined by what happens to you. You are going to be defined by what you overcome, and the sky is the limit.”
Interested in becoming a mentor or mentee?
The WIT Mentor Match program reflects a commitment to our members and their professional development, according to Jennifer Hedrick, WIT President and CEO. “This unique online networking and career development tool helps members find, connect, and share experiences with others within our community -- whether they’re in the same city or on the other side of the world.”
WIT Mentor Match Program
Interested in either becoming a mentor to an individual looking for guidance or support, or becoming a mentee who can learn from a seasoned professional woman who has some advice and guidance to give? The WIT Mentor Match Program can be a resource to find your match!
This service is available at no cost to WIT members. Simply sign up for the program in the Members Only section of WomenInTrucking.org which will lead you to the WIT Engage platform. There you will find a Mentor Directory, Mentee Directory, and a place where you can build your Mentor/Mentee Profile. WIT will periodically check in to see how your Mentor/Mentee relationship is progressing and will provide you with beneficial tools and resources to maximize the value from this relationship.
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