Thank you again to Lindrea Reynolds for speaking on behalf of CWIP's WLMP program at this year's CWIP Annual Luncheon. Below is a copy of her speech for you to reread and be inspired by.
I am so proud to represent the Women's Leadership Mentoring Program today. The reason why I applied to WLMP was because I wanted to learn this method on how to effectively merge my passion for youth development and brand development, so that I can thrive and do transformative work in my organization and in my future philanthropic work.
I remember the first time I met my mentor, Jean. I had my pen and notepad, my goals were written down, and I was ready to disclose all of my future endeavors and career aspirations. Jean calmly asked me, "how are you?" We indeed had a conversation about our careers, but also a little bit of our personal lives. In that moment and even some time afterwards, I didn't fully understand her method of mentorship. How is this the method to transformative leadership.
Her relaxed and steadily-paced style seemed to conflict with my fast paced, full speed ahead approach. But what Jean was teaching me was patience and work/ life Balance. Her approach and methodology was tailored to my needs. Our conversations calmed me and allowed me to think clearer, which is critical in decision making and so important in the work that we do because so many stakeholders depend on us. I learned that mentorship is not just about receiving a slew of educational resources and unwavering empowerment. It's actually a reciprocal relationship that can teach you life lessons to not only prepare you to be a phenomenal leader, but to become a better, healthier you. Jean's balanced life approach, calm tone, and personable conversations helped me to understand that my fast-based, get it done approach can lead to symptoms of stress and burnout. And with those symptoms, there's no way I can be truly be effective in my work and be responsible to the communities that I serve.
I also learned what responsibility and thriving really means. In many ways, it means "giving back". During the program, there was also a level of responsibility that challenged mentees to be accessible and to contribute to our mentors success as well. Jean and I were able to exchange resources and knowledge. That was invaluable, because it proved that regardless of what stage we are in our careers, our individual professional experiences can help someone else be extraordinary in the work that they do as well. It's called collaboration. My relationship with Jean, conversations with fellow mentees, along with our provided educational sessions gave me the confidence and skills to increase collaborations with staff and Leadership across my own organization. I've had the opportunity to sit in strategy meetings and share my point of view with leadership and see our ideas come to life and change the lives of Chicago youth. I have also recently joined the board of another not-for-profit, so that I can help young creatives flourish and continue to dream big, because I believe creative minds create change. I'm also proud to say that I had my first meeting with WLMP as a committee member so that I can give back what was given to me.
In closing, I believe that no matter where you sit, whether in a board room meeting or at your computer in a 6x6 cubicle, it's imperative to have a mentor. Especially if you want to become exceptional throughout every level of your philanthropic work. It's also important to receive that mentorship and pay it forward. Become a mentor yourself. I believe this is the path to transformative leadership and being impactful to the people that you serve. I really look forward to my continued journey, future collaborations, and continued growth in this industry. Thank you again WLMP for the opportunity to speak on behalf of this wonderful program. Thank you all for your time, and I am delighted to be a member of such an extraordinary group of women. Thank you.