Get to know LifeSpeak expert and mentoring guru Shawn Mintz.
We have all heard the word “mentoring”, but many of us don’t know what it means in the business world. Can you explain?
Mentoring in the business world happens when you seek the guidance and support from one of your colleagues or someone outside of your organization to achieve your goals. There are several ways that a mentor can help such as skills development, sharing experiences, transferring knowledge, helping with leadership development or problem solving, or teaching a better understanding of the workplace culture.
If I were interested in finding a mentor, what are some ways for me to go about finding someone suited to me?
First, it’s important to have clear idea of what you would like to achieve with the guidance of a mentor as this will motivate you to find the right one. You will also need to think about the type of experiences that your ideal mentor has, such as working in a particular industry, or a position or skill set. Then you can search for a mentor at your workplace, through your network, the associations that you belong to, schools that you graduated from, and even social media sites.
Do you have any words of wisdom to share for those of us who are mentees? What should we keep top of mind if we are relying on someone as a mentor?
The best way to keep your mentors engaged is to update them often on how things are progressing. They have jumped on board this amazing journey with you – let them celebrate the small steps that you take and the bigger milestones you achieve. It’s really exciting and rewarding to be part of someone’s success. By keeping them posted you will have a lifelong mentor and friend.
How does a mentor/mentee relationship usually play out practically? Is it face-to-face meetings?
I have mentoring relationships that are over the phone, some are through email and others are in-person. I believe that each format is just as effective as the other. It’s more about figuring out a format that both the mentee and mentor are comfortable with. There are so many options these days such as email, texting, live chat, video conferencing, in person and over the phone.
With MentorCity, you have developed a new kind of business. Can you tell us what Mentorcity does?
MentorCity connects mentees to mentors and then leads them through the mentoring process (It’s kind of like eHarmony, but for mentoring). We have a public site that can be accessed by everyone for free and we also help companies, schools and associations establish their own online mentoring programs to offer member engagement, succession planning, leadership development, and diversity and inclusion strategies.
How did you end up in the business you’re in?
About ten years ago, I created a mentoring initiative. And whenever it played out, I was inspired by how the mentors and mentees interacted with each other – their hand gestures, their facial expressions, their sparkling eyes and how, at the end of every mentoring event, the mentors left feeling great about paying-it-forward and the mentees left inspired to take on the world. I thought to myself that if mentoring could have this kind of impact, I wanted to be doing more of it!
What is the best part of your job?
When someone gets connected with a mentor on MentorCity, we receive an email that says ‘Let’s Celebrate’. These emails are a constant reminder of why we are doing the work that we do. A mentoring relationships can be totally game changing for both the mentee and mentor – so when one of these meaningful relationships gets started, it’s definitely a cause for celebration.
What do you most enjoying doing in your free time?
I enjoy doing fun activities with my family that gets us moving and feeling good. As an example, I love the time spent roller blading with my older daughter and the amazing conversations that we have. I also like to work out every day because it helps me to stay driven and focused.
What is your favorite movie ever?
I would say Rocky because he worked hard to achieve success and never gave up. Being an entrepreneur is sometimes like a fight – getting knocked down often, but always getting back up and staying positive. Also, Eye of the Tiger is a theme song for me and before any big meeting, I will listen to it, get pumped up and ready to give it my all.
Are there any current events that really irk you right now?
It drives me crazy that some corporations still turn a blind eye to harassment, bullying and discrimination.
What’s one thing that no one knows about you?
When I about 12 years old, I belonged to the Kenny Rogers fan club and I can remember being really excited when they sent me a gold Kenny Rogers jacket with his autograph!!