Today’s Guest Blog is from professional mentor Vicki Lautsch. Vicki, who’s Director of Recruitment at UP Education Network, is matched with a Boston College mentor and participated in SWSG Boston’s Spring Training at Simmons College on January 31. Scroll down to see more photos from the day!
I’ve always known that any group of women can have as powerful a presence as any group of men. It’s important to not just see this in a statement and silently nod in agreement, but to really say it out loud and say it with meaning. At a recent SWSG event, I walked into a (slightly intimidating) room filled with a large group of (mostly) college women shouting, “I am strong! I am proud! I’m not afraid to shout out loud!” I thought it might be 100 times less intimidating to just join in. So I did — and am happy to report that joining this loud, proud, and incredible group of women has been an incredible experience.
As an SWSG professional mentor, I am paired with a college mentor (Hi, Maya!) and get to be part of a three-level mentoring community. While I do not have all, or even most, of the answers, I am excited that the relationships I am building will have a lasting influence on closing the “ambition gap.” One of the biggest lessons I hope to impart on my mentees is that you never grow too old to have a mentor!
We recently got together as a mentoring community and spent a day building our professional (and personal) skills. I was given the opportunity to attend “Mentoring for Leadership 202” with Camille Preston, and she spent a lot of time speaking to us about taking risks. It is incredibly important for us as strong women to jump out of our comfort zone and take risks: particularly when it comes to achieving our goals and determining our professional path.
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of risk-taking. I panic when I’m not 2.5 hours early to the airport for a flight or even anytime I’m in a car in Boston. However, Camille’s presentation resonated and caused me to really think about the importance of getting out of my comfort zone. Sometimes you just have to take a leap, be positive, and know that risks often reap rewards. Before meeting the women of SWSG, it was hard for me to consider taking risks. Now, with a community around me and a support group in place, I’m happy to take Camille’s advice and have confidence in myself and my choices. I mean, I was pretty engaged in the SWSG chant on Saturday — my first of many leaps of faith in 2015! “I am strong! I am proud! I’m not afraid to shout out loud!”