“Mentor please”, it rolls off the tongue just like, “check please”. If only it were so easy. The truth is that having a good mentor is like having someone show you the shortcut on how to have a successful career. Honestly, who doesn’t want a shortcut?!? (Answer no and I bet you never read cliff notes in college either!) A mentor is typically a trusted colleague at a more senior level that you can learn from and has your best interest at heart.

I approached a senior woman in my industry, a colleague with a finance and M&A background that I could learn from. I asked her to be my mentor and she responded ” I did it on my own and you can too”. At the time I was stunned. Now I’m just glad that times have changed. Honestly, she didn’t fit the mentor description since she did not have my best interest at heart. My mistake and I learned to be more judicious in my choices. The good news is I’ve used this story numerous times in speeches so in her own way…the selfish B*tch did help me.

I have been approached by people offering to be my mentor too; however, if they are not a more senior colleague that you can learn from – don’t waste your time. As Warren Buffet says, “your most precious commodity is time”.

Successful and effective mentorship is amazing but it requires being strategic in the person you choose. Choose wisely my friend…

Kim Martin

1 Comment

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