Mentoring someone has always been on my list of things I’d like to do … some day. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to mentor on a personal or business level so when I ran across the mentor program through the Business Department at Sonoma State University I took it as a sign that now was the time. That was back in 2013. So why am I writing about this now? The good that came from my being a mentor continues to this day. Here’s why:
The sheer enthusiasm of students who enter in to the mentorship program is palpable. They are a dedicated, hard working bunch interested in learning what you have to offer. There’s no better way to tap in to the local talent pool than by mentoring smart, motivated students who are interested in learning about your business.
When you’ve been running a business for any length of time, it’s easy to get set in your ways. Garnering fresh ideas from young, eager students who are out to change the world is invaluable.
In my case, a majority of my time is spent delving in to sales and marketing. Hearing first hand about trends among millennials and how they rely heavily on their peers for product reviews and referrals is not only interesting, but information right from the source, not just something I read in a business magazine.
Insight also comes in the form of introducing a type of business (and business model) the mentee may not be familiar with. Mentees have the opportunity to take a first hand look in to an industry they may find interesting yet never heard of before.
I haven’t officially mentored through the SSU mentor program since 2013 but that’s only because I haven’t had to. Mentoring one student led to a word of mouth referral. One mentee graduates, then refers me to a fellow student who is also interested.
Sometimes the mentor program can lead in to an internship or position within your company. At SSU, mentor and mentee meet one hour a week for ten weeks. It’s a great way to get to know the students, their interests and skill sets.
Paying it forward
When I was a Senior in college with limited skills and no real experience to add to my resume, I reached out to an alumni who was more than willing to help. She was patient with me while answering my many questions and provided me with real world information to help steer me in the right direction for my career. I love the fact that I am able to pay that gesture forward.
In the end, it all comes down to this. Mentoring is just plain fun. It may seem like a lot of work and one more thing to add to your list, but I can honestly say it is truly worth it. Mentoring didn’t just help my business, it helped me grow as a person, fostering what I hope will be life long friendships.