Courageous Career Action: Mentoring Matters

“Who are you mentoring today?”

When hosting Promoting University workshops, one piece of advice we provide to attendees who are looking to establish a personal brand and to increase leadership ability, is to give- back; reach back, help another person who needs your insight, wisdom, experience and sometimes just simply a shoulder to lean on in the workplace so she/he can continue to grow and advance no different than you had and you are.  Great leaders mentor, whether formally or informally. Great leaders do not allow others to fail if they can intervene. Period.

Recently a young woman at a Promoting U workshop shared that she applied for an internal job that she knew she was more than qualified for, having had multiple years of experience in that line of business and with specific skills required in this new position at her company. The hiring manager called her into her office and told the applicant, “You are not qualified to do this job, here are the qualified candidates- take a look at their experience on their resumes and don’t even think about applying for this job again.”  Wow…  This hiring manager is not a leader, regardless of title, and truly missed an opportunity to share her wisdom and insight to help another woman advance at some point, which only helps the company in the end – a succession plan, internal development and advancement, and engaging a fellow co-worker.  It’s a win-win.

Great leaders do not just show up at work and do their job. They are just as others focused as they are focused on the job-at-hand.  Where would any of us be without some form of mentorship from a teacher, coach, parent, friend, or even random stranger?

As part of our 2015 guest blog series, you are in for a treat from a super-passionate and very transformational leader who has founded multiple mentoring groups in the Columbus, Ohio area, and will be taking her program nationally.  She is like our very own Oprah in the Buckeye State; let’s hear from Margaret Finley.

“Today I try to live my life with passion by staying on purpose and pursuing those things that allow me to make a difference in the lives of women and girls.  I have a passion for supporting and developing women and girls. Why?

“I believe that to whom much is given, much more is expected and therefore required.”

Indeed, I have been blessed with many awesome experiences and opportunities in my life, and not a day goes by that I don’t feel this insatiable need to give back.  With this in mind, I am excited about my next journey.  I have carried this dream with me for the last 20 years and no matter where my career has taken me, I find myself in the midst of a mentoring moment with a girl, young lady or professional woman.

My career started in social services, and I have spent the last 10 years of my career in Corporate America with a focus on organizational and leadership development.  I have realized many successes and advancements in my career- some due to sponsors (yes, they are different than mentors and are in a position to help move you in your career) and others made possible through what I learned and applied from my own mentors.

In 2011, I established The Women & Girls Mentoring Society, where it is our mission to prepare our next generation of influential leaders in the community, which naturally includes the workplace too.  We are committed to educating, supporting and advocating on behalf of our women and girls to ensure that we have a pipeline of strong leaders to be considered for opportunities as they arise.

Today, we live in a time of vast changes that include accelerating globalization, mounting quantities of information, the growing hegemony of science and technology, and the clash of civilization.  Those changes call for new ways of learning and thinking in school and business, and the profession as spoken by noted Author, Howard Gardner.  His book FIVE MINDS FOR THE FUTURE is forward thinking and masterful.  He defines 5 cognitive abilities that will command a premium in the years ahead:

1.  The Disciplinary Mind – Mastery of science, mathematics and history.

2.  The Synthesizing Mind – Ability to integrate ideas from different disciplines into a coherent whole.

3.  The Creating Mind – Capacity to uncover and clarify new problems, questions, and phenomena.

4.  The Respectful Mind – Awareness for differences among human beings.

5.  The Ethical Mind – Fulfillment of one’s responsibilities as a worker and citizen.

“Do you have a future-focused mindset? Where can you excel and where can you grow from those listed above?”

So as you can see from Gardner’s list, we certainly do have much work to do with our women and girls to prepare them mentally for the future, and we are committed to the call.  As we think about 21stCentury education and what this means in preparing young women for a successful career, I love the words of Scott McLeod as he describes it.  He says…

“It is bold.  It breaks the mold.  It is flexible, creative, challenging and complex.  It addresses a rapidly changing world filled with fantastic new problems as well as exciting new possibilities.”

I am confident that The Women & Girls Mentoring Society can be a catalyst for developing generations of influential leaders that will strengthen the fabric of our society and the communities they reside in.   Mentoring Matters and it is our responsibility as women to reach back and pull a girl, a woman, along in our journey of life.

So why does mentoring matter?

“It is the rent we pay for living on this earth.” – Oprah Winfrey

For information on the Women & Girl Mentoring Society, please contact Margaret Finley:



Leave a Reply