By Stephanie Wintling
Have you ever had the experience where you meet someone and instantly you know they will have a profound impact on your life? There are few instances in my life when this has happened but when this happens I always stand in awe at those moments and am immensely grateful that they happen to me at all. Majority of people influence my life over time but there are those rare few that upon meeting I knew they would help me along my journey both professionally and personally.
Today’s blog prompt is “Do you have any female mentors? Tell us about them and how they have influenced you.”
This prompt has made me reflect on my female mentors and why I consider them mentors. Three women instantly came to mind and I started contemplating what is it about these women that make them my mentors. One theme arose, “fearless” these women, although I know they experience fear, approach their professional lives fearlessly. They have fearlessly given me opportunities to advance my career without being protective over a project or doubted I wouldn’t do as good as job as them. They have fearlessly called me out on self deprecating behaviors and empowered me to own my strengths and talents. Finally, they have fearlessly pursued their careers and achieved exponentially and continue to achieve in their careers.
Bet you’re curious who these women are? Here are the 3 women I consider my mentors:
Teri Bump @tbump
Although Teri has only recently been introduced in to my life through the power of Twitter, she has already had a profound impact on my life. For those of you who already know Teri, you know she is well networked and loves to connect people with each other and this has been amazing to have in a mentor. However, the impact Teri has had on me comes from her outlook and the way she carries herself. She will instantly call a woman out on self deprecating behavior and challenge them to own their strengths. One thing Teri is brilliant at is targeting an individual’s strengths and is never shy to bring them to light. The way she challenges self deprecating statements and celebrates other’s strengths is so natural and a genuine testament to her desire to empower others.
Jeanna Mastrodicasa @DrJtotheMastro
When Jeanna first introduced herself in my Grad class at UF my initial thought was I want to be just like her! She has a J.D., a PhD, was a Gainesville City Commissioner, worked with assessment, assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, and had an awesome personality. I set up a meeting with her and the rest is history. Jeanna allowed me to have some really amazing opportunities at the University of Florida. The one thing brilliant about Jeanna is her ability to instantly put things in to perspective. She is extraordinarily intelligent and staff refer to her when they need clarity on a situation. Jeanna is definitely a go to person when you have questions or are confused about something. One of the greatest things Jeanna has done for me is never questioned my abilities but always given me opportunities and expected me to succeed.
Myra’s list of accolades is extensive but getting the experience to work with Myra and have her continue to be a mentor in my career is a true blessing. Myra, like Jeanna, fearlessly provided me with opportunities to grow during grad school. While the blessings of those opportunities taught me loads of lessons, the way Myra carries herself continues to challenge me to be a better professional. Myra KNOWS her students. She knows if they’re married, have kids, what career they are in, where they live, and what’s going on in their lives. No matter when they were her student, she knows what’s going on and if she doesn’t can easily find out. As someone who forgets names easily, watching Myra remember all these details about students and how it is paying of in her role as a development officer is truly incredible. Finally, Myra always cares what’s going on in my life. I never expect a quick response from my e-mails to her because of her schedule but she is always quick to inquire what is going on with me professionally and personally. Again everything she does comes from a place of care and I know that’s why she has had so much success in the field.
I hope I have inspired you all, just as these women have inspired me. Who are your mentors? Maybe you never formally said they were your mentor but as you reflect they truly are a mentor to you. Take some time to thank them and appreciate all they have done. For those of you without a mentor, seek them out. You will be surprised the amazing individual waiting to impact your life.