Mentorships may be one of the keys to boosting a career, at least that was the theme of this month’s North Coast Women in Business meeting on Feb. 24.
The president of Hawkair, Jay Dilley, and the director of corporate service, Jocelyn Lebell, spoke in “fireside chat” style to a room full of business minded women.
Dilley and Lebell discussed Hawkair’s Women in Leadership Executive Development Program, which selects candidates and trains them to take on an executive role in the company. Lebell was the first graduate from the program and she recently accepted a mentorship role of her own.
“It’s a relationship between two individuals where, of course, one of them will have more experience than the other but they both share a mutual interest in seeing the mentee develop, learn and grow. The mentor provides encouragement and support to the mentee,” Lebell said.
North Coast Women in Business is a networking group to help women grow their business and career. Last month, on Feb. 18, another similar style organization, the Women’s Leadership Network, debuted its launch and established its focus on encouraging women to find equal gains as men in industry. There were some familiar faces attending both events.
“We are a support network for women not just in business but for everything and that encompasses being women, moms and wives and everything else. It’s a place to come and learn and support,” said Tina Cann, one of the North Coast Women in Business organizers.
Lebell said that North Coast Women in Business is an informal form of mentorship and that people can have more than one mentor.
“If there’s another woman in the room who might have more experience than you in a certain area hopefully you can forge those connections and talk about the challenges you’re facing,” she said.
The other type of mentorship is formal and she said it is usually accompanied by an agreement where both parties can set a time commitment.
Dilley was asked why he decided to set up the women in leadership program at Hawkair and he explained that he had been raised by strong women in his family and was surprised once he was out in the working world at the imbalance between the genders.
“It was just one of those things where I had the ability to do something,” Dilley said.
Having a mentor’s support and encouragement has helped Lebell in setting her career goals. She said finding a mentor is easy, you just have to ask.