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Perspectives on Mentoring

 

Welcome to our bi-monthly blog where members of the WISE Within community share insights and their WISE Within experience.


 

June 1, 2016

Don’t Judge a Mentor by his Gender


Navigating the Job Search Process
Let’s face it. When we make the decision to start looking for a new job, we do so with the complete knowledge that the process ahead is a daunting and potentially intimidating one. We put ourselves out there for people to critique and judge, all the while less than satisfied in our current role. When I decided it was time for me to move on to that next opportunity, I turned to the WISE Within mentor program for guidance.

When filling out the application, I was asked my preference of a male or female mentor. I made note of my first choice. I was looking for an established professional woman to help me navigate the job search in a space that tends to be male-dominated. When I was accepted into the program, I was ecstatic and could not wait to meet my mentor, the strong woman in the sports industry I pictured.

Didn't Expect My Mentor to be a Man
Fast-forward to the program’s kickoff event, during which the mentors were unveiled to the mentees. I was told that even though I requested a woman, the WISE Within committee had decided that my mentorship needs would best fit with one of its cherished mentors … Doug Pirnie.

Unfortunately, Doug had a prior work commitment and was unable to attend the kickoff event. The pairing made me a bit apprehensive. Would Doug, being a man, be able to relate to the specific concerns and frustrations I had been experiencing as a woman in sports? The day before our first meeting, I was contacted by a company about a position they had available. Oddly enough — or call it karma — it was the same company at which Doug had spent 30-plus years of his career.

When we had our first meeting, I was completely open, explaining to him what I was looking to gain from the mentorship program and also mentioning that, although I was excited to have him as a mentor, I was expecting a woman! Over the next two months, we met and/or spoke on the phone at least once a week, and he helped guide me through the interview process at his former place of employment. The longer our mentorship relationship went on, the more I realized that it did not matter if my mentor was a man or a woman, but rather what knowledge I gained from the relationship. I am proud to say that Doug and I remain close friends and still speak frequently. And, I wound up getting that job, starting a little over a month after Doug and I first met.