The Power of Mentoring

Originally Published on January 21, 2016 on LinkedIn

I believe in mentoring. It changes people’s lives. You want to make a difference? You want to impact someone’s life? You want to leave a legacy? Mentor someone. January is mentoring month so I decided to share this article I published on the Latino American Today newspaper a few months ago (www.latinoamericantoday.com).

I am not a formal mentor or mentee but I have mentors that, throughout my life helped me in my personal life, spiritual life, and in my career. I have also mentored over 15 young adults during high school, their college years, and while entering the workforce. I helped them with interviewing skills, preparing their resumes, negotiating salaries, getting promotions, connecting them to potential employers, and coaching them through work situations once employed. I also coached and mentored “grownups” when going through transitions at work or switching careers. The little help I provided impacted their lives in various ways.

My mentors helped me get through transitions in my own life, including leaving a ten-year job at a bank I helped start and launching my own bank consulting firm, Malzahn Strategic. I encourage you to look for a mentor, someone who is wiser than you and that can help you become all you can be. Seek for a mentor who wants to share her or his life experiences with you, a person who is willing to share her or his mistakes as well as the successes.

Mentoring is powerful. That’s why I volunteered to be on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities (BBBSGTC) Board. I started serving four and a half years ago in the Finance Committee, then served in the Executive Committee, and now I serve as the Board Chair. Last year, as I started my two-year term as chair, I pondered about this great opportunity to help lead an organization that transforms young people’s lives forever and now I want to share my enthusiasm with you so you can partake of this experience too.

BBBSGTC is led by my friend and great leader, Gloria Lewis. BBBSGTW is the sixth largest agency in the nation and mentors over 2,000 children. Based on data and research at this agency from 2015, only 10% of Littles and 2% of Bigs in the program are Hispanic/Latinos. Of the 2,000 children (Littles), 56% are female and 44% are male and 58% of the Bigs are female and 42% are males. When measuring development outcomes at this agency, 94% of the youth improved or maintained their scholastic competence, 84% have higher educational expectations, 94% feel more accepted by their peers, and 90% of children mentored increased their motivation to continue their education or job training beyond high school. At the National level, youth that participates in the BBBS mentoring program are 75% more likely to receive a college degree, 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, and 52% less likely to skip school.

There are opportunities to get involved and make a lifetime impact in a young person’s life through BBBS. Become a Big and mentor a girl or boy. They are looking for Latinas (and Latinos) who speak Spanish too. If you don’t want to or have the time to be in a formal mentoring program, then do it informally. But mentor someone! It is the best way to give back to the younger generation and to pass on your own wisdom. Mentoring is a way to show the young men and women that they are valuable and that they can too make a difference in the world. As a Latina woman leader, I feel the responsibility to be an example and encourage the younger Latinas that are coming behind me.

As leaders, we need to impart in the younger generation what we learned during our lives and help them prepare to succeed in the working environment. I challenge you to take the initiative to mentor a young girl or young adult and enjoy the journey of seeing a life being transformed right in front of your eyes. Visit BBBSGTC’s website and get involved! (www.bigstwincities.org)

At Malzahn Strategic (www.malzahnstrategic.com) we work with banks that want to increase their profitability by improving their operational efficiencies. We focus on Strategic Planning, Enterprise Risk Management and Talent Management. We also help banks establish their community involvement program. I invite you to check out our Community Involvement page (http://malzahnstrategic.com/community-involvement/) so you can read about our giving philosophy and get inspired to become involved in giving of your time, talent, treasure, and touch (connections).