Thankful for Mentorship

Posted on Oct 30, 2012 | Comments Off on Thankful for Mentorship

By: Kendall Wheeler

Since November is the most thankful month of all, three Lubbock AWC members were asked to share about mentorship and how it has impacted their careers. Read their responses below and remember to thank someone this month who has helped guide your career.

How has a mentor impacted your career?

Diana Melcher AWC Lubbock MemberDiana Melcher: I’ve been lucky to have a few mentors in my career, but my first (and favorite) made me feel like a valuable part of his team. He quietly encouraged me and helped me acquire the confidence to show everyone that I had the knowledge and talent to be valuable to the team. I do not have an aggressive personality, so I really appreciate mentors who show their confidence in me instead of bullying me to be something I am not.

Niel Moore Lubbock AWC MemberNiel Moore:
Banking is not a field with many women in senior management positions. I first came across my mentor when I was working for a bank holding company in New Mexico as a compliance/auditor. One of the banks was having some problems in the area of compliance and I was sent to find solutions. The bank president had been removed and a new president was hired. This man turned out to be my mentor. I know that it is probably hard to believe, but I was not outgoing and confident during that life stage. I was in a bad marriage that had totally killed my self esteem and confidence. My mentor gave me the confidence to make changes in my personal life that allowed me to gain confidence professionally.

A few years later my mentor had moved to another bank in Lubbock and he called me to ask if I would consider a position offering twice my New Mexico salary. I packed my bags and didn’t look back, even though my new boss and his wife were the only people in Lubbock I knew. I came to Lubbock and became the person that I believe God intended me to be. The job was difficult at times, but my mentor pushed me to do my best and he always listened. What he showed me was Grace. He seldom said a harsh word and always wanted to give people the benefit of the doubt and cared deeply for his staff. He had compassion, but he had a strong sense of right and wrong. I like to think that my time with him gave me the confidence and patience to start my own business after the bank sold. I tried to treat my client bankers with the same attitude.

Lubbock AWC Member Sherry SaffleSherry Saffle: Bea Zeeck was a terrific mentor to me. When I joined AWC she was well into her career and I was just getting started. She was sharp as a tack and knew how to maneuver the good ol’ boy system, which was a necessary skill in her career. I learned from her that you could be tactful while getting your point across. She once said you just have to be smarter than the men, which isn’t very hard! She taught me to be smarter and work harder and you will accomplish your goals. Fortunately for me, early in my career the good ol’ boy system became less of an issue. But the lessons are still correct – if you work smart, keep learning, be tactful, stand firm to your beliefs and keep your integrity, you will succeed.

What advice would you give other mentors?

Diana Melcher: Be positive and diplomatic, find a way to communicate well, be encouraging and appreciative for your mentees contributions and their feedback.  Make it a priority to give freely. Share your time, talents and resources.

Niel Moore: Take time to get to know your mentee so he or she will trust your guidance. Always substantiate your advice with reasoning and tell the mentee why it is important to either change or learn something new. Another thing that is very important to me is to provide compliments and go easy on criticism. Show respect, but be an example for satisfactory performance. Also, be patient with folks.  We don’t always know what kind of baggage they are carrying.

Sherry Saffle: Mentoring others happens in your own workplace as well as at other networking functions such as business organizations, church groups and through personal acquaintances. It can be casual or structured depending on the parties involved. Both mentors and mentees need to have good listening skills and realize it is just one person’s opinion on how to handle a situation. It can be difficult to tell someone something they do not want to hear, but if the person is really interested in growth and improvement he or she will listen and adapt what is comfortable for their style.