Who is on Your Board of Directors?

Who is on your board of directors?

A board of directors typically means, “a group of persons chosen to govern the affairs of a corporation or other large institution.” Do you think of yourself as your own corporation or brand? If not, you should.

Every young professional needs a board of directors.

Yes, I said directors. For example:

1. “Friend” mentors
2. Workplace mentors
3. “Big-Gun” Mentors: company/industry leaders you admire
4. Peer Mentors

The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide points out these interesting facts from Catalyst, the leading non-profit research and advisory organization for women in business:

  • 56% of female senior executives said having an influential mentor or sponsor was important to their career success.
  • Over 69% of those with mentors were promoted, compared with 49% of those with no mentors. In addition, the greater number of mentors that respondents currently had, the greater the number of promotions they received.

When reaching out to those who you’d like to be your mentor, keep in mind that they probably have a very limited amount of time. They will not be your best friend, you will not call them after a tough day, and it is rare if you get to hang out with them regularly. Rather, lean on your mentors for big decisions such as deciding between job A and B, considering a career change or dealing with an unusual situation at work.

A simple email is a great way to start. Keep it brief. Give your background and education in a few sentences, briefly tell the person why you admire their work and how it inspired you. Then simply ask if the person would be willing to chat with you for ten minutes about their expertise/career/knowledge of opportunities/experiences or whatever you need.

Do you have mentors? How have your mentors helped you in your career?

Do you feel that mentors are especially important for women considering we often like to discuss before making big decisions?

Your homework this week is to reach out to someone new, pay them a compliment and begn a dialogue with them. Get over being uncomfortable. You have nothing to lose. People love talking about themselves and helping others. And if they don’t respond? Move on to another mentor and don’t take it personally. Let us know how this goes!

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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