This week I want to talk about mentors. I do a lot of work with students, both at the college level and graduate level in business and law schools. I also work with young professionals in corporations and young attorneys.
One thing I have learned in my life is the value of mentors and the value of investing in our relationships. I have found that every connection in our lives has a divine purpose. Sometimes it’s for a chance meeting and other times it’s for someone to have a sincere presence in our lives.
The value of mentoring and finding a mentor to be a mentee cannot be underestimated. I truly believe that mentors serve a very special role. Mentors are vested in your personal and your professional success, but also introduce you to new concepts, new people, new aspects of life that you may not be exposed to. Mentors can open up doors for you. I’d like to honor one of my mentors who really helped shape me and been there for me when I needed her. I was assigned to be her mentee through the Miami Fellows program, which is a 2 year leadership program. In that program in 2002, 18 of us were selected. I was blessed to be assigned to Toni Randolph. Toni has been with me like a second mom for almost 20 years. She loves me like a daughter. She has been there for me through a lot of personal challenges and given me advice, but also professional challenges. She also visited me in prison.
Other incredible mentors who have helped me through really challenging times in my life include: Judge Joseph Farina, Sarah Herald, Kendall Coffey, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. I’m really lucky to have so many great mentors.
Mentors are people who are not necessarily in your profession, maybe they are in your community or around the world. What I tell students and young professionals in finding a mentor is as simple as asking someone to be your mentor. The worst that can happen is that they say no. The best is that you have a sponsor for life and a mentor for life. So go out and find a mentor. If you’re experienced, offer to be a mentor for someone so that they can learn from your wealth and knowledge.