When I was a little girl, my mother instilled in me a core value that I have upheld my entire life. She said, ‘‘No matter what you do, help other people.” Those words have played a vital role in my personal and professional development.

I began my career at MWV as a computer programmer. I excelled at my role and was quite happy with the career path I had chosen. But, as fate would have it, my career would take a different turn when one of my early mentors said to me, “Stephanie, you are a star in computer programming, but you have an even greater gift—developing others. Don’t ever lose that.” Those words resonated deeply with me, and I began to look for opportunities that combined my skills with my passions.

In my current role, I am able to develop others on a daily basis and it is exciting work. I help hone the skills of promising up-and-coming talent and also assist senior leaders in maximizing their strengths. I’m grateful for the opportunity to build and fortify relationships with colleagues, students, suppliers, and the community. I also seize the opportunity to mentor others whenever possible. Mentors have played an important role in my life and giving back is essential.

In my opinion, a mentoring relationship is not meant to be comfortable. On the contrary, a mentor should stretch the mentee and challenge them to become a better person. No matter how amazing a mentee may be, I’ve always found the following to be true: First, everyone has strengths and development opportunities. Second, building and maintaining positive relationships is a vital component in one’s development. And last, but certainly not least, listening is a crucial skill. Over the years, my mentors have provided me with feedback that might not have been easy to listen to…but it was necessary for me to hear. The most important changes I’ve made in my life have been because of strong mentors who spoke openly and honestly with me. Those changes have helped me become the woman I am today.

In my opinion, development never ends. As I continue to grow both personally and professionally, I will always look for those mentors who can help me improve myself in my life journey. And, as my mother wisely recommended many years ago, I will also always look for opportunities to help others along the way.