by StreetWise Partners
Friday, June 30th, 2023
We often talk about how mentoring changes the lives of mentees. Mentors help mentees build skills, build confidence, and build a network — all in the name of connecting underrepresented talent to career opportunities.
But what about the mentors themselves? How does the mentoring relationship add value to the mentor’s personal and professional life?
Here are four benefits of being a mentor – and four reasons to consider signing up to be a StreetWise mentor for our Fall 2023 Cycle.
You grow and strengthen your network
Finding new opportunities and getting ahead in your career is not just about what you know, but who you know. We discuss this often with mentees, but the same network effect applies to mentors as well. When you volunteer, you get access to a network of qualified professionals – some who come to us on their own, others who volunteer through our partner companies, including Fortune 100 companies like Global Atlantic Financial Group, Marsh McLennan, and Bloomberg.
Relationships extend in all directions as mentors and volunteers get to know, support, and open doors for each other through the program and events. Being a StreetWise mentor means being part of a community of 2,500 volunteers who give their time, resources, and connections every year.
As you mentor, you learn too
Mentoring reinforces your own learning. Akshay Ramanathan, a long-time mentor who now serves as Manager of Volunteer Services at StreetWise, experienced this first-hand as a mentor. After so many years helping mentees improve their resumes, he realized he had learned – and gained confidence in – the important resume-writing skill that was in high demand for job seekers. Other volunteers have shared how their experience mentoring helped them hone their own skills, like public speaking.
As the world of work continues to change,, “A community like StreetWise,” says Akshay, “helps you stay on the pulse of what’s relevant in your field, stay connected to resources, and more actively engage in industry conversations.”
Chances are you’re not an expert on everything. But if you’re committed to your own growth, mentorship will help you stay a step ahead in your own skill building.
Grow your own leadership
One of those skillsets is leadership. “Not only will you learn about the mentee,” explains StreetWise mentor Maya Wilson, “but you’ll also learn things about yourself and develop your own leadership and communication skills.”
Through the StreetWise program, mentors help mentees learn how to be leaders by working on skills like setting SMART goals, being an influence across teams, having difficult conversations, and giving or receiving feedback. As they teach and guide in these areas, mentors also learn to hone these skills, which they take back to their own lives and careers.
You can make a tangible and meaningful impact
For Akshay, mentoring is all about using your professional skills to pay it forward in the community. And there’s no question that StreetWise mentors make an impact: 75% of mentees who graduate become fully employed; their professional contacts increase from 0 to 100; and their average starting salaries increase from $10K to over $60K annually.
“StreetWise has the organizational structure and clear expectations for mentees and mentors in place to ensure your time as a volunteer has a real impact,” says Akshay. “There’s such a positive return on the time you invest, which is why we see so many mentors come back again and again.”
All levels of experience welcome
One common concern we hear from potential mentors is that they don’t think they have enough experience. Akshay’s response? No matter where you are in your career, you have something to offer.
Gagan Vaseer, a mentor who has volunteered for five cycles, agrees. “We all have expertise in something, and we can all help in some form or fashion,” he says. “Every cycle, I find out more about what I can provide to others, and I recommend all mentors take that approach.”
Plus, when you volunteer as a mentor, you’re not doing it on your own. Mentoring is a team sport, and mentors can always lean on the StreetWise team and other mentors in the program for support and camaraderie.
Are you interested in being a mentor? Exploring what it entails? StreetWise is currently recruiting mentors in a range of industries — including tech, marketing, HR, finance, and accounting — for the Fall 2023 Cycle. Submit your name and email address below, select Mentor, and we’ll get in touch with you.