October 2007 Newsletter
Audrey Nelson Ph.D, Inc

Smart Talk

Please Don’t Go! Mentoring for Keeps

...They say knowledge is coming to know what you have known. I think there comes a point in our lives when we realize we did not get to where we are without a nudge, word of encouragement or push along the way. We acknowledge that we did not do it alone. Who were those special people who provided the right words at the right time? A grandmother, coach, teacher or boss?
...We have years of research that reveals few people are successful without having a few mentors in their career. This variable becomes even more pivotal and crucial for women and people of color. Catalyst studies reveal that “having a mentor is the crucial key to success at work, and it’s the single advantage men usually have-and women don’t.” In my experience as a consultant and advocate for women in the workplace, the single most important reason that among the equally talented and bright-men tend to rise higher than women do is that most men have mentors and women do not. If you are a woman of color, you experience the double whammy. The problem of finding a mentor is doubly difficult. According to Catalyst, of the 2.9 million women holding managerial and administrative jobs in the private sector, only 14% are women of color. In Catalyst’s survey Women of Color in Corporate Management, “women stress the critical importance of mentors to a career and report lack of mentoring as a serious barrier to advancement.”
...Today more than ever women need direction and advice from a trusted mentor. Statistics speak for themselves. In almost any organization, the higher the position, the fewer the women. The glass ceiling cannot be penetrated without a helping hand from someone who has been around the block and knows the roadblocks! Catalyst has interviewed thousands of women since its founding in 1962-ranging from pioneers to Generation Z and these women have clearly said they need to know what to do to get to where they want to go!
...How does mentoring benefit the organization?
Here are a few ways mentoring serves the organization:

  • Reduces turnover
  • Encourages retention
  • Enhances professional development
  • Links employees to valuable information
  • Breaks down the “silo” structure and allows cooperation among different departments
  • Employs own employees as internal experts rather than hire outside consultants

"Where in the World is Audrey?"

Did you miss Audrey at the Society of Human Resource Management Conference in Keystone last month!

October 9, 2007
Hewlett Packard, Ft Collins
8:30 am to Noon
Time Out for Jack and Jill: Men, Women and Conflict

October 30, 2007
Stanford Hospital and Clinics
Palo Alto, California
8 am to 4 pm
The First Five Seconds: A Workshop for Women

October 31, 2007
Denver Metro Chamber
1445 Market St
9 am to Noon
Ouch! That Hurts:
Dealing with Difficult People

Did you miss one of the
Smart Talk Columns?
Browse the archives of Audrey’s 2006-to date Smart Talk Columns on her web! Simply go to www.audreynelson.com and click on “Newsletters.”
You Don't Say

You Don't Say just came out in its 6th language: Russian!
...In my work I have encountered reports that companies who offer mentoring programs are more appealing to prospective employees. There is a sense they will be taken care of and provided guidance through the tenuous first year on the job.
...Often a naïve assumption is that mentoring benefits only the mentee. Not true. The mentor has much to gain from the experience including satisfaction from sharing their expertise, re-energizing their own career and gaining an ally in promoting the well being of the organization. A mentee can also offer a fresh perspective and feedback that would not otherwise be available.
... Finally, questions come up about the structure and combination of mentoring relationships. Should men mentor women and can women mentor women? The answer is yes in both cases. First, there are more men to serve as mentors from the top ranks and they are usually more established networks. They can provide the “insiders” look at the majority culture. Women mentoring women can provide a women’s perspective on issues such as balancing home and career. They prove valuable as role models on how to conduct themselves in the work world.
The interest in mentoring has increased with the changing demographics of the workplace as women and minorities have entered the workforce in record numbers. Organizations now look to mentoring as an aid in recruitment, retention and building a multicultural workforce.
Think about what you wished you had known about the unwritten rules as you started your career! Think about who mentored you and what you gained from that experience!
What People are saying about Audrey
Thank you for the wonderful article you wrote for HR Success magazine (‘Go Home and Put on Some Clothes! Has Casual Friday Gone Over the Top?).I read it today when I received the magazine and could not wait to send you this note of appreciation.
I’m glad someone else is taking a stand on dr4essing like a professional! I’ll be showing this article to our management team so they can see that the dress guidelines we developed last year are right on the mark!
Again, thank you for taking a stand on this tough subject.

Barb Buss
HR manager, Mesa County Libraries

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