Why is mentorship important and how do you enact it in the world?
Mentors have always been in my life. I attribute much of my personal and professional growth to an amazing group of mentors who have guided and supported me as I sought to develop into the amazing woman I am today. No one person has all the skills, knowledge or support that they need to grow. Mentors selfishly provide the shoulders that we consistently stand on as we reach towards our personal goals.
Throughout my career, I have grown to appreciate the power of mentorship and I have built my personal list of individuals to whom I go to from time to time to bounce ideas off or seek advice. The people who have mentored me have been supportive, kind and knowledgeable.
I think mentorship is a key ingredient in maximizing one’s potential. A good mentorship relationship breaks one out of their comfort zone and forces the individual to challenge oneself in learning more. We all have something to offer. Frankly, each of us can learn from each other so whether it is a formal or informal agreement, mentorship serves a distinct role in helping individuals grow and thrive.
Mentor and mentee relationships provide powerful connections. These connections support continuity in learning as well as an opportunity to build business acumen to broaden one’s knowledge base, which is essential in today’s competitive job market.
There is no doubt I could not be where I am today had it had not been for the generosity of time and support that mentors have afforded me. They have carried me, supported, and encouraged me. They are my mentors. So many people have influenced and have helped to shape my career. They are my teachers, senior leaders at Bank of America, family members and community leaders. The leadership team in Rhode Island Black Business Association has not just supported and mentored me but has allowed me to further develop my leadership skills. These wonderful thought leaders who inspire me and motivate me to carry on my work are my mentors.
I have had the pleasure to serve as both mentor and mentee and both roles have been extremely rewarding. As a mentor, I enjoy working with young people entering the workforce, transitioning between jobs and or looking to advance their career. I have also served as sponsor in helping individuals to land jobs by leveraging my personal network. Being known and respected by my community is important to me, I was taught at a very young age the importance of giving back to one’s community and others. I operate on the premise that we succeed or fail together and for me failing is not on option.
In closing, I believe mentor and mentee are two great sources of a wealth of information and each person provides fresh insights that the other person might not have. I value mentorship as it allows mentees to tap into their unknown potential. Mentorship is a “win win” for all involved.
Lisa Ranglin is a vice president at Bank of America. She has over 10 years of experience in project management, business process improvement and organizational change management. In 2001 Ranglin set out on a journey to close the technological disparity, which existed in the African American community when she founded Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) Rhode Island Chapter. BDPA delivers IT excellence to members, strategic partners, high school seniors and local communities. Ranglin is the founder and president of the Rhode Island Black Business Association — a non-profit organization, dedicated to enhancing the growth and economic empowerment of minority owned businesses by providing them a forum to competitively participate in the local and global economy primarily through business development, advocacy, mentoring, and professional development. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Programming Technology from New England Technical College. In addition, she is a certified Project Management Professional, holds Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, awarded by Bank of America and a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island.
photo by Agapao Productions