What legacy do you want to leave? For women and all diverse employees, having a mentor can be the keys to the kingdom for realizing one’s full potential. Mentoring has come for me not only in the form of formal programs with defined goals, but also in informal relationships. I’ve learned a lot since my early years of seeking out a sponsor. But, nothing has proven to be as potent as the power of mentoring, which is why I have become an outspoken advocate for mentoring.

My mentors have been individuals whom I admire, respect and most importantly, feel a connection. Men can be some of the best advocates for parity in the workplace and have a keen knack for high impact mentoring. Mentors have taught and advised me on the value of networking, workplace politics, cultural norms and values, etc.

It is these relationships that have been the key to successfully navigating and extending my personal career. I establish a mentoring environment as a natural part of my work family to engender trust, respect, mutual success and a good old-fashioned sense of fun.

Enterprises today understand more the criticality of women in the workforce and, significantly, in executive teams. We’re seeing an inevitable increase in the diversity of our population, our markets, and our workforce. Women and women of color in particular, represent the fastest growing segment of college graduates and now constitute 80 percent of the country’s consumer purchasing decisions. The result of mentoring has far-reaching impact on accelerating the advancement of careers. Don’t wait for someone to come to you to design a formal mentor program. Look inside and outside of your organization group and pick someone you connect with and get started.

I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with talented individuals through formal and informal mentoring that have taught me the value of integrity, collaboration, tenacity, challenging the status quo and most importantly to have fun. I strive to be a mentor who can inspire all employees to never set limits in their career goals. Mentoring programs are core to accelerating workplace diversity and career advancement. Make a personal commitment to mentor. Paying it forward will touch the lives of others and your positive influence will be your legacy.