The Power of Devoted Mentorship
A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could. –Zig Ziglar
Thanks to my multicultural upbringing, I have always had a front seat to the true power of diversity. It therefore makes complete sense that my greatest passion as a lawyer is to authentically and permanently diversify our profession. I sincerely believe the soundest legal decisions are made, and most innovative legal strategies executed, when a variety of voices and perspectives impact the decision-making process.
It’s my belief that the best way to accomplish this much needed diversification is through what I call “devoted mentorship.” Devoted mentorship is committed mentorship for life—to being a sounding board and a friend, a sponsor and a cheerleader.
At so many pivotal moments in my professional career, I have leaned on, and learned from, my mentors.
However, quite candidly, not until recently did any of my attorney mentors look like me or have backgrounds similar to mine. Now I know half-Chilean, half-Persian attorneys are hard to come by. By no means does a mentor need to look like you or have your same background to be helpful, but there is something truly magical about the bond I have made with my female mentors of color. There is so much unspoken understanding and shared experience that has helped shape me as an attorney.
I strive every day to create similar magical bonds with my diverse mentees—creating safe spaces for open dialogue, opportunities to share concerns, and to simply listen. Truly listen.
Whether it is talking to a first-generation lesbian, gender non-confirming Latina law student about her father proudly taking her shopping for a business suit and tie when she started working at our firm, or talking to an African-American single father about how to balance a legal career with raising a kindergarten-age son, I do my best to connect and encourage, knowing our conversations are never just about the law. So often—nearly always—they are about so much more.
The beauty of devoted mentorship is that it flows in two directions.
Devoted mentorship also builds devoted mentors. I learn from my mentees just as much as I hope they learn from me. It is my hope that the law students and attorneys I have mentored over the years will dedicate themselves to supporting and advising other diverse students and attorneys.
Only then will our profession will start to look like the communities we serve.