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A Mentor for Every Age

Posted February 15, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Networking Buzz

Mentorship is a word that’s often thrown out there when we’re talking specifically to young women. We think, somehow, that we only need a mentor when we’re in the beginning stages of our careers. The fact is, though, all women need mentors from CEOs to admins. And all women need to mentor others. It doesn’t stop when you’re become a certain age. So we’re giving you the kinds of mentors you should look for at every age:

In Your Twenties

  • You in five years. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, finding a person who is exactly where you want to be in five years can be the most powerful mentorship there is. She will be able to let you in on her path, and help you find yours.
  • The power player. Mentors should be people you want to be associated with, so go out there and find yourself someone who is a power player. Perhaps they’re an “it girl” in your city, or maybe they’re a big shot in your industry. Either way, you need at least one of these big names in your mentorship docket.
  • Your peer who has strengths you don’t. It’s a terrible misconception that a mentor must be older than you are. Find a mentor who is at the same level as you are in your career or the same age. Learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as they will absolutely be different from one another.

In Your Thirties

  • The right kind of male mentor. Often, women in their 20s see men as potential dates, and not mentors. Once you’ve aged a bit, you’re going to want to find a fantastic male mentor that in no way leads to a romantic relationship. Look for men 15-20 years older to ensure that fine line is never an issue.
  • Someone who is absolutely and completely certain of her brand. Your thirties can be a trying time in discovering yourself. Oprah always talks about 40 being the new 20, so it appears our thirties are now just like high school. To balance out your thirties fear, find a woman of any age who is 100% secure in who she is. You can learn incredible amounts from her.
  • The “I don’t know how she does it” mentor. You know the lady. She works, she has kids, she bakes. And you just keep thinking, “I don’t know how she does it.” Whether you’re going to be a mother or not, this woman can mentor you to incredible productivity with her “do it all” nature.

In your Forties

  • A C-suiter. This person doesn’t have to be a woman, but definitely needs to have a great big C in their title. Find someone who has ascended to the absolute upper echelon in his or her career. This individual will be able to counsel you on whether or not that’s the big goal in your career and what it takes to get there.
  • Someone in a new area of your business. If you’ve made it to forty in a similar business you started your career in – marketing, engineering, etc. – chances are there is a part of that business you simply haven’t worked in. Look for a mentor, older or younger, who has expertise, and might be able to give you the opportunity to learn the ropes in that area.
  • A beauty guru. It may sound strange to look for a beauty mentor, but it’s important. Forty is often the age women start to become increasingly worried about skin care, hair care, and more. Find a woman who does it well, and ask for her advice. You don’t need to rely on injections all the time. (Hint, our own Kathi Toll is a great resource for beauty tips.)

In Your Fifties and Sixties

  • Women who have recently retired or found a way to continue working well into their seventies and eighties. They will be instrumental in helping you to make decisions about whether and when to retire.
  • Young women who are incredibly tech savvy. We hate to stereotype that women in their fifties and sixties aren’t tech savvy, but the truth is new technology is just harder as you get older. Find a mentor in a young woman who is willing to be a listening ear and a teacher when you need to learn the ropes of a new social media platform or software program.
  • If you’re a mother, it could be that you’ll soon become a grandmother. Look for a mentor in your life who has a great relationship with her grandchildren and ask for her guidance in becoming the world’s greatest grandmother.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."