As we enter Women’s History Month and approach International Women's Day, I was reminded of the critical role that we – I’ll call us women of experience - can play in the lives of younger women who cross our paths. Mentorship can come in many forms; sometimes it is a passing moment or unconscious act that lets someone know there is room for their ideas and participation. Other times, it involves really taking someone under one’s wing on a more intensive journey. Both have immense value, and the reward is not unidirectional.
I was so honored to receive the loveliest email from a former employee who now has a senior role in another company. Each year, in honor of women's day, they are asked to tell a story of a woman who impacted their lives -- personal or business. This year, she wrote about me…and I was humbled to read it:
"I was pretty early in my career, coming on as an office manager, and she really took me under her wing. Always putting me up for exciting new projects, pushing me beyond my comfort zone, and teaching me everything she knew about the video and TV industry. She started a small production company in the late nineties, and through the ups and downs of the industry has never given up and persevered through it all. Not only has she expanded the company to reach new heights working with some of the largest clients and directors in the U.S., but also did it while raising a family. She's a true example of fierce, tenacious and honest leadership, and I'm so grateful I got to learn from her early on in my career.”
When you get to this point in your career, where you have basically done what you set out to do and are kind of over the idea of having to prove yourself to anyone, you realize that life is not so much about how much money you make or how big your business gets but how you handle yourself along the way. Most importantly it is the impact you have on others…your own kids and your family, friends, colleagues and, yes, employees. I am truly humbled to know that someone who worked for me considered me a mentor for them and that I made an impact on her life. That’s not only a career highlight, that’s an important life moment.
It was a wonderful reminder that how we move in the world - what we do and how we do it - can really make a difference.