If I hadn’t had mentors,
A recent study by LinkedIn found that 82% of professional women agree that having a mentor is important to their careers. This is an opinion shared by many of today’s most successful businesswomen, who have not only benefited from career guidance in their early years, but now find tremendous value in mentoring others. To gain a better understanding of why these accomplished women feel this way, I decided to look at some illuminating quotes from Fortune 500 CEOs like Kathleen Mazzarella and Indra Nooyi:
Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, Inc.
“Looking back, I realize that the first decade of my career was somewhat happenstance … However, at the start of my second decade at Mylan I realized I needed to be much more purposeful about reaching my goals—and be more ambitious about the goals I set for myself. Finding a mentor allowed me to do that. My advice to anyone—but I think this is even more important for women—is to find mentors, whether inside or outside your company, that can be a sounding board for discussion about your career, help you navigate the curves in the road, and empower you to think bigger about what you can achieve than you might be able to visualize for yourself.” – from Forbes
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.
“If I hadn’t had mentors, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m a product of great mentoring, great coaching… Coaches or mentors are very important. They could be anyone—your husband, other family members, or your boss.” – from My Success Blog
Lori Greeley, CEO of Victoria’s Secret
“I’ve had strong professional women as mentors since the beginning of my career. I am so fortunate that I grew up in a business that has been for women [and] led by women my entire adult life, which is really unusual for someone in my generation.” – from Knowledge @ Wharton
If I hadn’t had mentors,
Debra Reed, CEO of Sempra Energy
“I believe mentoring is better when done every day in real time. I try to be a good role model and set the example. If a person could do better, let him or her know at the moment and not once a month. Mentoring is constant. We have a very diverse staff. When you bring people from different backgrounds and different perspectives and you work together, you can make better decisions, and the performance shows in the results. My key role is to continue to develop future leaders.” – from San Diego Magazine
Kathleen Mazzarella, President and CEO of Graybar
“At this point in my career and in my life, I recognize more than ever the importance of investing in the development of others. I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished, but I want to be remembered as someone who made a positive impact on others, both personally and professionally. I want to help the next generation succeed, not only for their personal benefit, but also for the benefit of the organization, and the communities where we all live and work.” – from Women Worth Watching
Anne Sweeney, President of Disney/ABC Television Group
“I think the greatest thing we give each other is encouragement … knowing that I’m talking to someone in this mentoring relationship who’s interested in the big idea here is very, very important to me. I think if it were just about helping me get to the next step, it would be a heck of a lot less interesting.” – from Power Mentoring: How Successful Mentors and Proteges Get the Most Out of Their Relationships (Google eBook)
It’s fascinating to see that these successful women are just as enthusiastic about being mentored as they are about mentoring others. Clearly, whether you’re just starting out or an experienced veteran, there is a great deal that can be gained by taking part in a mentorship. To get started with a mentoring relationship, read our article 5 Innovative Ways to Find a Mentor.