There is a new movement of support for entrepreneurs and enterprise leaders and it is being created through mentorship. A powerful exchange of information that starts with sharing stories.
In our gig economy, we often work in isolation from our colleagues and work teams using various platforms to connect with specific deliverables and key performance indicators. I believe it is fast becoming an effective tool to breaking barriers and encouraging personal and professional success.
There are companies and organizations that are now building incubators of support for current and emerging leaders. The concept encourages innovation, collaboration and teamwork.
They are familiar roles that often become interchangeable throughout our careers as we learn new skills and navigate change.
Mentors…and our strategic role.
As a volunteer mentor, I have been associated with an organization that supports mentorship for women by women. Through the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), introductions are made based on industry experience, interests and location with many meeting either in-person or on-line.
This is my second year participating as a Mentor, assisting other individuals to break barriers and create their own definitions for success. FWE provides an organizational structure as a special interest group…female entrepreneurs who are supporting other women in business.
Opal and I were introduced based on our love for fashion, business innovation and commitment to customer service.
She is the founder of Sun Vixon Swimwear a destination on-line company that was started to fill a market niche – stylish designs and selection at your fingertips.
I would be described as a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years brand experience. I have an ongoing commitment to life-long learning with first hand experience to both the risk and reward of entrepreneurship.
We connect remotely, for one hour per month, discussing various topics that ultimately encourages outside the box thinking. We confirm the topic before our call to ensure that we have relevant information to share.
I have to be honest – this relationship is symbiotic.
We tell stories that often lead to lightbulb moments.
When I review my notes, I learn something from every conversation that sparks an idea or encourages a connection within our individual networks. Opal and I have a mutual understanding and respect for our experience and openly share stories that truly inspire great ideas.
I believe that is the secret to a successful Mentor/Mentee relationship – the ability to share roles within the role!
We are helping each other to succeed!
For me, mentorship is personally rewarding because throughout the year we are able to share both the opportunities and success’ that started from our conversations. They support our business ideas and give us the confidence to pursue our dreams knowing that someone is available for discussion and support.
We encourage success through sharing stories… and every connection starts a new conversation.
As a Mentor, it is an honour and a privilege to support another individual in their goals, building trust that will forge long term relationships.
Working with Opal has been an honour with her keen interest in finding solutions to the everyday challenges that we all face in the business of our business.
I was introduced to Trish after being accepted to attend FWE’s Toronto e-series, a valuable 3 day intensive for female entrepreneurs. Part of the e-series program is a one-year mentorship with a business leader. For me, this was the most exciting part of the program. I’ve worked with mentors and coaches in the past and know the value and positive impact they can impart, if you are open.
I was paired with Trish because of her background as a fashion buyer and experience with businesses in the online space. For me, this pairing was perfect, timely, and invaluable.
Together, Trish and I committed to a date and time we would meet each month on the phone. Trish suggested that I submit a topic for discussion a week or two prior to our call. This would be the focus of the conversation and allow Trish to prepare and find additional resources.
Sometimes our conversations would be more in-the-moment, but having a topic decided in advance ensured that our chats never fizzled out from lack of direction.
I truly believe that this is one of the keys to a successful mentor/mentee relationship.
Looking back on my year with Trish I feel that my business and personal life have benefited from our time together. Once a month I got an energetic infusion of entrepreneurial spirit from an experienced business professional. Through stories of her experiences, great words of wisdom and endless ideas, Trish made me feel like I was never alone. Every entrepreneur feels isolated at some time or another and it is one of the main challenges we face. Trish made sure I knew I could get in touch whenever I needed anything. Anytime I felt challenged I could bring her strong, steady voice with words of encouragement to mind and instantly feel better.
My sales revenue has tripled over this time last year. I can accredit part of that success to the mentorship program.
There’s intrinsic value created in sharing stories, experiences and ideas with others. They will form the foundation of your business achievements if you are open to them.
What is the secret to a successful Mentor/Mentee program?
We both agree, share stories, experiences and ideas…they are the new currency for success.
Opal Hurteau is the founder of Sun Vixen Swimwear Inc. an online destination for women to shop for exclusive designer swimwear brands.
Trish Tonaj is a Master Coach Practitioner and Coach Trainer providing keynotes and workshops on Mentorship…breaking barriers, starting new conversations and creating a new definition for success.
“Mentorship…sharing stories to inspire great ideas!”