The mentoring partnership between FWA NJ and the Seton Hall University (SHU) Stillman School of Business kicked off a new year with the largest class of mentees in its three-year history. A new class of 21 SHU Stillman students met their FWA NJ mentors for the first time at a networking event in Jubilee Hall on Wednesday, September 27. The program has grown from 11 mentees in 2015.
The number of FWA mentors increased this year enabling the increase in mentees, said Carol Doyle, a co-chair of the program. “You can’t have mentees without mentors,” she said, adding that there has been greater interest among FWA members in giving back and helping the next generation.
All mentors introduced themselves briefly, and a common theme was the satisfaction they get from the mentor-mentee relationship when both sides are committed to making it work. Many have been mentors since the program started and have developed friendships with their mentees.
Good communication is key to the relationship. “Communicate, communicate, communicate,” is the “c” in the “abc”s of being a good mentee, said Marguerita Courtney-O’Neill, a managing director of MUFG, who spoke to the gathering about what makes for good mentor-mentee relationships. Be action oriented and take the initiative is the “a” and be yourself is the “b”. The “abc”s for mentors are: “a”– accept you do not have all the answers, “b”–be yourself and “c”–coach for success in business.
Overcoming the generational divide is also critical, noted mentor Christine Birnbaum. The younger generation is used to texting and may not look at email very often, she said, but it is still very important in the business world and for mentors. Agreeing on the best way to talk to each other is a basic first step in the mentor-mentee relationship.
During the introductions, the mentors described their own wide variety of experiences, company affiliations and career paths, many unexpected and unplanned. They advised mentees to always be open to new possibilities and a change of plans, because “the jobs of tomorrow do not exist today.”
The mentors are all members of the FWA and have at least a decade of business experience. The program helps young women launch their careers and develop skills that will help them succeed in the business world. The mentees are generally juniors or seniors enrolled in the Stillman School, although a number of sophomores are also participating this year. The students must be taking a business-related course and have a GPA of 3.0 or above.