Find a Good Mentor Who Believes in You
Mentorship has been invaluable throughout my career. I have been proactive in seeking out mentors and not simply waiting for great mentors to come to me. I have asked for help and asked questions. Lots of questions. I have been incredibly fortunate that the majority of my colleagues and peers have been gracious and generous enough to answer, to help, and to guide. I would encourage other women, whether they are junior attorneys or young executives, to be aggressive and passionate in seeking mentorship.
For me—and for many of the most successful women I know—mentors have been both men and women. In a perfect world, every woman would have a strong female mentor and role model. But the reality is men still hold more positions of power than women, and women can benefit from male mentors and leaders who support their rise to the top. At the end of the day, having a good mentor who believes in you is what matters most. That being said, I do think it is important—and incredibly rewarding—to also have female mentorship, when it is organic and synergistic.
Women face some unique challenges and hurdles. We need to support and mentor each other. For example, as a junior attorney, I was counseled by one of my female partners that I needed to do a better job in terms of “self-promotion”—both internally and externally. She told me that I was talented with an enormous skill set, but I had to let other people know this “… because if you don’t tell them, no one else will.” This is true. I took this to heart, and am eternally grateful for her advice. I think it is especially important for women, as oftentimes self-promotion may not come naturally to us—or to anyone really.
Seek out mentors, male and female. It is important beyond words.