As National Mentoring Month comes to an end, Maura Boyce, a SWSG alumna,  former Chapter Director at Harvard, and current Leadership Coach in Boston, reflects upon the value of mentoring, and the role that SWSG has played in her life. Here is Maura in her own words: 
“Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don’t know how far we can go.”  -Bernard Malamud
As National Mentoring Month comes to a close, I reflect on the role mentors have played in my life; on the heroes who have helped push me along. Strong Women Strong Girls has provided me many valuable mentoring relationships, both formal and informal, since I first began mentoring in college over ten years ago. Through SWSG I made lasting friendships with women who became a life-long support group of peer mentors ready to help with any new life challenge. From job changes, city moves, graduate school choices, and, of course, all those personal life changes women in their twenties experience, this group of incredibly strong women supported me at every step along the way. Their advice and counsel continues to help me reflect on my choices and decisions in ways I cannot do alone. They challenge me to test my limits, and they demonstrate through their own actions examples of strong women. When I made the move back to Boston a year ago, I knew I wanted to give back to the next generation in the SWSG community.
This year I became a Leadership Coach for SWSG and was matched with a fabulously spirited, ambitious, and kind-hearted college mentor. I feel privileged to be able to provide my ‘coachee’ with advice as she navigates college and life; I am sure she will teach me a few things as well. I enjoy sharing with her techniques that worked for me to keep girls focused during mentoring sessions or to keep college mentors attending important meetings. I hope our relationship impresses upon her the value mentoring has in life; whether through a formal program like SWSG or informal interactions with those she meets along the way. And I hope she too develops her own life-long support group of peer mentors to help her along her life journey. SWSG provides women of all ages a unique role model experience and shows young women early on the power a mentor can have in their lives.  I hope all the girls and college mentors continue to seek out mentors throughout their lives.
Personally, the value of such relationships in my life is incalculable. Even now in my professional life, I am always seeking role models in my field to help inform my decisions and help me navigate career moves. From my supervisors to my graduate school advisor to my own mother, I have been honored to have strong and determined women guiding me. Their valuable insights encouragement me to always seek other examples to emulate and who will help me grow. I cherish the bond I am building with my SWSG coachee; I look forward to celebrating all her successes and supporting her as she struggles through the difficult times. I will also take time this month to thank the mentors in my own life who have done the same with me, and I hope you will all do the same.