Talking Mentors on “Mentoring Monday”

Today is Mentoring Monday,” as marked by all 40 Biz Journal markets across the country. Thousands of women who understand the value of networking and who hope to make connections to advance their careers will come together today. We love this idea, so we asked three mentors at Dixon Schwabl: What should a mentee look for in a mentor?” Here’s what they said:

First and foremost, look for a great listener who is responsive and available to support you. A great mentor is an optimist who can handle challenges with grace, projecting an energy of acceptance, trustworthiness and honesty. Seek out activities and groups that align with your aspirations and purpose in life. Someone who is disarming and allows you to be who you are. My grandmother, Leona McAllister, is one of my mentors. A phenomenal businesswoman, politician, teacher and scientist—and a foster parent. She was able to handle any challenge with grace and discernment and showed me the power of generosity and kindness. Lauren Dixon, our CEO, has very similar qualities, which makes me feel very fortunate to be able to work at Dixon Schwabl. Every day, I express gratitude for how I’ve been able to develop as a creative leader at Dixon Schwabl.”

Ann McAllister, Creative Director
Ann’s mentors: Her grandmother Leona McAllister and Lauren Dixon

A quality mentor should possess transparency, honesty, experience, self-awareness, vulnerability and leadership. My mentors have empowered me to lead and give me the autonomy to take steps and make decisions—and even missteps—to learn. They’ve encouraged me and guided me to navigate uncharted territories. It’s atypical for someone to pick their mentor. More often, it happens organically. Surround yourself with smart, established, proactive, positive people who get stuff done. You are the company you keep. From those circles, you’ll find yourself exposed to more people of the like and with the quality relationships that form, you’ll establish a bond, friendship and working-relationship. From there, you become a sponge and foster the relationship, especially with those you may not have the opportunity to be with as often as you’d like.”

Nadine General, Vice President of Agency Nonprofit Services
Nadine’s mentors: Kim Allen, Lauren Dixon and Liz Hill (American Red Cross)

A mentee should look up to someone they aspire to be like, someone who has a positive reputation, is considered a role model and is walking the same path as the mentee. The mentor should be a respectful listener, someone who can push them out of their comfort zone; people grow the most when they are challenged and out of their safe place.’ Mentors should also be honest and direct, yet thoughtful in how they provide feedback. They should have a passion for what they do, have a respectful attitude and be invested in wanting to see their mentee grown and learn.”

Julianna Monacelli, Director of Consumer Public Relations
Julianna’s mentor:
Kim Allen

Now we ask you: Who is your mentor? If you’re looking to find a mentor, take this advice and find the right person to guide you, challenge you and mentor you.

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