Ask The Girlfriends

Finding A Career Mentor

Jun 2, 2011 by

Ask The Girlfriends is our way giving back to young women. Gf authors answer questions about life, career, and relationships posed to us by women who want a little perspective and insights from women outside of their own circle.

This month’s Ask The Girlfriend question is from Marianne’s friend Melody Meiners.

Melody is a social media whirlwind…She is the founder and managing editor at Girls Guide to the Galaxy, a partner and lifestyles editor at STLFamilyLife.com, and has a personal blog at MrsSmartyPants.com. She is also the founder and President of St. Louis Women in Media, a 350 member strong, non-competitive women’s networking group that offers quarterly programming for female media practitioners and hobbyists as well as freelance writer, interactive marketing consultant, wife and mother to her one year old daughter, Grace.

Melody’s Question: “Have you ever had a career mentor, and how did you come upon her/or him?”

Girlfriend Anwer: GF Serena Kovalosky

Excellent question, Melody. No matter where you’re at in your career, a mentor can be instrumental in pushing you to the next level. Here’s a little story about how I usually find mine.

When I was just starting out, I always had the Hollywood image of the perfect mentor…….a wise elder who sees your potential even before you do and decides to impart their vast wisdom unto you, often with cryptic teaching methods, like Mr. Myagi in “The Karate Kid.” It makes for a great movie, but I’ve found that in real life, mentors can take on many forms.

When I left my job in the corporate world to become an artist, I knew relatively little about creating art professionally and absolutely nothing about the business of art. I didn’t even know any artists personally.

I thought about going back to university, but I soon realized that what I really wanted was a mentor. But since I had no connections in the art world, I had absolutely no clue as to how to go about finding one outside of the educational system. There were so many things I needed to learn. How would I find the right one who could teach me what I needed to know, and who resonated with my particular the artistic path? It was proving to be almost as difficult as finding a marriage partner!

Then I remembered a saying I had recently heard, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” So I released my expectations and decided that the right mentor will come at the right time for me.

I started focusing all my energies towards becoming an artist and opened myself up to learning any way that I could. Through synchronicity, I was invited to share a studio loft – for free – with a painter named Pam, in a building filled with working artists. Watching Pam paint day after day, I observed the creative process first-hand, asking lots of questions and discovering my own process for my sculptural work.

When I helped Pam move to the country one weekend, I got to know one of the movers –  whose father just happened to be a retired art teacher. Roger immediately took me on to teach me all about art history and how to hone my drawing skills.

Then there were the other artists in the building where I shared Pam’s studio. Dana taught me how to work through “mistakes”, Lea shared her insights on the business of art and how she works with galleries, Marilyn shared her experience in working with corporate commissions, Claude showed me the commercial side of selling art. As I met the artists of the building, each one shared a little of their expertise with me – pottery, painting, stained glass, sculpting.

It wasn’t until years later, while thinking about how I had never found the “one perfect mentor”, that I realized I had instead been blessed with an abundance of “mini-mentors”. Some would teach me for a few days, others for a lifetime. When I look back at all those wonderful people who helped me get a good footing as a professional artist, I am grateful because no one person could ever have taught me so many things in such a wide variety of areas.

I still have mentors from time to time, and am often a mentor myself, and I realized that the best mentors are those who find me…..and that they can be any age and can come from anywhere. Here’s the secret to “finding” them: Once I immersed myself in the art world, I started surrounding myself with people who were already successful because they are the ones who have the most to teach me. You are welcome to visit my website.

There are many other ways, I’m sure, and you’ll find the one that works best for you. I wish you much success!

~~~

We cordially invite the A ll The Single Girlfriend community to add your perspectives and join in these important discussions.

Read More Ask The Girlfriends Questions!

Resources

As  A Business Women – Who Are You Mentoring?


About the Author

Girl Friends Has Written 19 Articles For Us!

All The Single Girlfriends is a social content destination for single girlfriends over 40 who are meeting life with style and denial! Each of us, along with you, brings a unique idea of what it means to be single after the big 4-0 birthday. There is not one right way to do that. However, we double dare anyone to deny that women over 40 are not fun and fabulous!
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6 Comments

  1. @CosmosGirl glad that you enjoyed our career mentor "ask the girlfriends" question. thanx for the tweet! http://bit.ly/masi0k

  2. @kt_little waves back! are you in the states or did you go back to england? want to do an "ask the girlfriend" question? http://ow.ly/5cHjI

  3. JJ

    I enjoyed the article. I like the concept of “mini mentors.” I believe strongly in the power of mentoring. Thanks for referencing my blog post As a Business Woman, Who Are You Mentoring?

    JJ.

  4. Ask The Girlfriends: "Have you ever had a career mentor and how did you come upon him/her?" http://bit.ly/lOd3a5

  5. Have you ever mentored/? Ask The Girlfriends series question on how #women find career #mentors frm @MWGirlsGuide http://ow.ly/58oGV

  6. Melody Meiners, @mwgirlsguide, "Ask The Girlfriends" about how #women find career #mentors. http://ow.ly/58oGV have you ever mentored?

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