Workplace Mentorship

Make an intentional plan to mentor, inspire, encourage and support others.
May 2, 2024
Brenda Gerber Vincent, Chief Impact Officer, GFW
Workplace Mentorship

Mentoring brings me joy — it’s as simple as that. I am passionate about inspiring others to succeed and delight in encouraging those around me to dream bigger than they ever thought possible. Happiness, to me, is opening doors and creating opportunities for others to discover their potential and foster connections that facilitate growth.

I believe that one person can make a difference in someone else’s life. 

I have been blessed with amazing mentors throughout my life and career. In turn, I strive to pay it forward, dedicating much of my efforts to helping others find their path, to find their voice to make a difference.  

To me, mentoring is about relationships. 

It is about investing in others.

It is about giving back and helping people grow forward.

It is about saying, “you can do this.” 

It is about showing up. 

Those who aspire to make a difference in others usually succeed because they possess the unwavering belief that every individual is important. These changemakers focus on making small, incremental changes, one person at a time.

In my role at Greater Fort Wayne Inc., I have the privilege of leading the Impact Team — a group of exceptional leaders — and oversee programs like Leadership Fort Wayne and the Women’s Network that perfectly align with my passion for mentoring. One of my favorite events, Champions of Change, was specifically created to shine a light on those in our community who are mentoring women and removing barriers to their success. 

A profound African proverb summarizes the approach I believe we should all embrace: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Imagine what we can accomplish together! We simply can’t view mentoring as someone else’s responsibility. I believe that every person, regardless of position, can make a difference through simple acts of kindness. I also believe we are all responsible for sowing the seeds of engagement, connection and kindness. Knowing that embracing kindness over competition and helping others to succeed does not jeopardize one’s professional position, but actually strengthens it. 

Mentoring is important for many reasons. It facilitates the transfer of knowledge, skills and wisdom, providing invaluable guidance and support to individuals as they navigate their educational and professional journeys. It fosters personal and professional development through encouragement, constructive feedback and opportunities for self-reflection. Mentoring instills confidence and resilience in individuals, empowering them to overcome challenges and pursue their aspirations with determination. Moreover, mentoring cultivates strong networks and relationships, fostering a sense of community and collaboration across generations. This is especially important for women who often do not see themselves in leadership roles. 

Historically, my most influential mentors have been men, and I am forever grateful for their impact on my career. Unfortunately, research over the last decade suggests a decline in the number of men mentoring women, even though men still predominantly occupy senior positions in many sectors. As we work to enhance and uplift our community, the participation of both men and women in mentorship is vital. We must ensure women have ample opportunities to advance their careers to the highest level. 

Regardless of gender, listed below are easy and practical ways to provide mentorship in the workplace: 

  • Introduce others to your key contacts. 
  • Give people the credit for their work, even when they’re not in the room. 
  • Create opportunities for growth by inviting others to participate in meetings and discussions that will broaden their scope of knowledge. 
  • During the decision-making process, include the subject matter experts and the project leads. This inclusion not only strengthens the individuals, but helps to ensure more effective outcomes.  
  • Create a culture where diverse perspectives are not only important but valued and desired. 

If you’re not already, I challenge you to make an intentional plan to mentor, inspire, encourage and support others. Be the person who makes the difference in someone’s life and acknowledges the contributions of others in the workplace. 

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