Cross Cultural Mentoring: Mentoring 2.0!

Cross cultural mentoring relationships offer unique opportunities to broaden perspectives and reduce unconscious biases. Here’s how they work.

Given the rapid changes in workforce demographics, understanding the potential challenges and opportunities created by a cross cultural mentoring relationship has become as critical as finding a compatible mentor.

Try cross cultural mentoring to receive insights into your unconscious biases.

Try cross cultural mentoring to receive insights into your unconscious biases.

The Blackwell Handbook of Mentoring defines cross cultural mentoring as “relationships where mentors and protégés differ on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, socio-economic class, or other group memberships.” Note the definition goes beyond race and ethnicity to include other social factors that shape mentors and mentees values, beliefs, and behaviors. This broader, more comprehensive way to define cross-cultural mentoring is the core factor to identify the challenges and opportunities this new scenario presents.

Why is this important? Gaining a clear understanding of the dynamics of cross cultural mentoring provides a layer of information that could enrich the development and launch of mentoring programs and proactively address potential blind spots.

Challenges of Cross Cultural Mentoring 

Any type of mentoring relationship– from peer mentoring to a more formal set up (i.e. experienced and junior individuals)—will encounter the challenges of starting a new relationship. It takes time to develop and cultivate trust. Interactions between mentors and mentees are influenced by underlying biases, assumptions, and beliefs. When you add the element of culture to the mentoring experience, unforeseen challenges could emerge. Two challenges come to mind:

  • If you are looking for an honest cross cultural mentoring relationship, you definitely have to go beyond the food. But going out for a bite is a great way to get the conversation going!

    If you are looking for an honest cross cultural mentoring relationship, you definitely have to go beyond the food. But going out for a bite is a great way to get the conversation going!

    Biases and Assumptions. Research shows that every single individual has unconscious biases. The ability to be biased allows individuals to discern information and make decisions. Biases could jeopardize a cross cultural mentoring relationship when either mentor or mentee make wrong assumptions about each other because of their biases. For example, a mentee could assume that her mentor—because he is older—is less experienced and tech-savvy. A mentor could assume that her mentee is unfamiliar with American popular culture because she was born outside the U.S. Both circumstances could lead to condescending behaviors—also known as micro aggressions. Behaviors based on unfounded biases can take many forms. A senior leader in the financial services industry said when asked about her current mentee, “I don’t see her as Indian because she has no accent.”

  • Differences in values, beliefs and expectations. Historically, mentoring programs have relied on matching pairs who are as similar as possible. The logic was that people who are alike (i.e. same race, gender, ethnicity, etc.) would have a higher degree of fit and compatibility. Once pairs are matched, the focus shifts to setting expectations and goals. A mentoring pair that is cross cultural would benefit from taking a step back and learning what expectations and goals look like to each other individually. For example, an expectation is to have an open door policy. The mentee, however, places a high value on formal authority and believes that rank trumps any other directive. Her expectation is that the mentor will initiate communication despite the open door expectation. This could lead to frustration and create an unnecessary distraction if not addressed proactively.

Opportunities of Cross Cultural Mentoring

Ready to move to the next level of your career? Experience what it means to be supported by thousands of professionals like yourself!

Ready to move to the next level of your career? Experience what it means to be supported by thousands of professionals like yourself!

Despite potential challenges presented by a cross cultural mentoring relationship, there are opportunities to consider:

  • Perspective and mindset tune up. Engaging in a cross cultural mentoring relationship provides a rare opportunity to broaden perspectives and mindsets for both parties. The mentee—from the previous example–who identifies herself as Indian but has no accent could leverage that exchange to discuss with her mentor that the lack of accent does not determine her cultural affiliation. The mentor, in turn, has the opportunity to become aware of this bias of assigning an American identity to those with no accent.
  • Innovation partnership. When two people with different backgrounds are invested in a mentoring program, the benefits of mutual mentoring become clear. What a better chance to brainstorm on new ideas than with a trusted thinking partner. Building on the trust cultivated through comparing and contrasting their beliefs and assumptions, mentors and mentees could strengthen their bond by directing their conversations to topics beyond career advancement and office politics. They could consult each other on business issues. Their different perspectives become a potential asset to fuel out-of-the box solutions.

Engaging in an effective cross cultural mentoring experience (HBR: Race Matters) goes beyond going out for mojitos or Thai food. Cross-cultural mentoring not only offers the opportunity to learn about others perspectives and expand your own. It also helps mentors and mentees become more agile in their thinking as decision makers and leaders.

Women mentors: A group of surgeons like no other

In a heavily male dominated field like surgery, women mentors don’t abound. Yet this group is showing that together women can support each other take on any challenges they might face.

Always interested in women mentors and role models in fields where women are substantially underrepresented, I was excited to discover #ILookLikeASurgeon on Twitter. A movement of women ready to prove that surgeons come in all sizes, shapes and genders, they are fashioned after the #ILookLikeAnEngineer movement which seeks a more diverse and inclusive work environment for women in engineering.  Once Heather Logghe sent out the initial tweet on August 5, 2015 proposing the hashtag #ILookLikeASurgeon, an informal team emerged to champion tweets, blog posts and conversations, right away.

#ILookLikeASurgeon first tweet

#ILookLikeASurgeon first tweet

The initial team included Kathryn Hughes, Paula Ferrada, Ainoha Costas and Marissa Boeck. All surgeons ready to become women mentors and role models to women and girls around the world. There have been over 55,000 tweets by 10,000 participants since that initial tweet. (Source: Together they are changing the face (and the feet, I should add!) of surgeons around the world.

A powerful statement by Dr. KMarie, a GI Surgeon

A powerful statement by Dr. KMarie, a GI Surgeon

What follows is a must-read interview with most of the initial team. (Women mentors by default!) You’ll find a brief bio for each of these surgeons as well as their Twitter handles at the end of this post.

An informal group of women mentors is formed

Do you function as a group of women mentors?

Paula Ferrada (PF): #ILookLikeASurgeon started as a tweet and became a community of women helping each other, a forum of men and women that recognize gender disparity as an issue and wanted to be part of the difference. As a consequence, many organizations have supported these efforts. The main champions being the Association for Women Surgeons (AWS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The involvement of these organizations created some influence in increasing possibilities of mentoring and networking. In fact many very well known women mentors, innovators and women leader surgeons joined! This was very inspiring for resident students and for all of us young surgeons in training.

"A huge part of changing culture starts with believing we are deserving of a better environment," Paula Ferrada, MD

“A huge part of changing culture starts with believing we are deserving of a better environment,” Paula Ferrada, MD

The movement was broadcasted at the last AWS conference, resulting on a New England Journal of Medicine forum, and was included in the ACS women in surgery committee interviews. Since the first tweet, the movement has been international, with a strong following in Ireland, England, Australia and articles in German, French, and Spanish. In November, a panel of women surgeons was broadcasted live in Bolivia. Many of the tweets are highlighted by the newly organized Women in Surgery Africa organization.

We believe that by opening a space and encouraging our voice, starting discussions not only pertinent to gender disparity but other disparities in surgery and in medicine, we have started at least asking the thought questions.

A huge part of changing culture starts with believing we are deserving of a better environment.

The medical field is notoriously male-dominated and the surgical specialties even more so. Did you have women mentors and role models growing up?

PF: I have been very fortunate in having women mentors and man mentors. I have mentors for every part of my life too. Mentors that help me academically, mentors for research, mentors that keep me grounded and balanced.

I believe mentoring is multidirectional. It is very rare that a mentor will come to you and offer help out of the blue, but most of accomplished professionals will not deny help when asked. In occasions when I have found myself in difficult situations or when I want an opportunity and I can’t find my way to get it, I seek help, call friends, make connections with professionals around me. Many of these connections have grown into amazing relationships that have lasted years.

Reaching out to other women in your field can make it harder to be ignored.

Reaching out to other women in your field can make it harder to be ignored.

Ainhoa Costas (AC): I actually never had women mentors or men mentors, until the last couple of years. I have, though, had an amazing role model in my mother, who I admire and always look to for advice. I have also met several people over the years, not necessarily in medicine, who have impressed me with their approach to life and work. I try to find the best characteristics in them and use them as a model for myself.

Heather Logghe (right) of #ILookLikeASurgeon

Heather Logghe (right) of #ILookLikeASurgeon

Heather Logghe (HL): I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin with very few role models with professional degrees. I was introduced to a male surgeon by a teacher in high school and he was actually the only surgeon I had the opportunity to personally speak with until I attended medical school. I think that having more mentors with college degrees and particularly in the field of medicine would have helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin professionally and prevented some of the challenges of “impostor syndrome” I have worked consciously to overcome.

Marisa Boeck (MB): Throughout my life I’ve had a mixture of both male and female role models across a variety of disciplines. Mentors have definitely been harder to come by, until recently. On beginning general surgical residency, the gender imbalance, especially in leadership roles, was difficult to ignore. Yet I’ve never felt gender has dictated whether I look up to or want to emulate someone. I have found women and men alike who have provided examples of what kind of physician, surgeon, teacher, mentor, and person I do (and also do not) want to become.

Challenges Women Surgeons Face

As surgeons, what are some of the biggest challenges you faced along your career and which ones do you continue to face?

PF: Finding a balance for me is more like a tilt; an all or nothing approach. The most challenging aspect of my career has been learning to know myself, understanding what makes me truly happy; and going for it. Not what makes my boss happy, or what others expect of me. Rather what fills my heart with passion, my mission. In other words, learning to say no to projects that do not interest me and going full force with tasks that I am passionate about.

Personally, the most challenging thing is scarce time with my family. It took me a while not to feel guilty when leaving my son at home. I understand now, this time allows for quality time with his father, and developing my career helps me feel complete, happy with whom I am, so I can be better for myself and my family.

Ainhoa Costas Chavarri (right) of #ILookLikeASurgeon

Ainhoa Costas Chavarri (right) of #ILookLikeASurgeon

AC: Although there is still a lot of sexism in medicine, I was lucky to have trained in a surgical residency that had a high percentage of women and therefore this was not a problem. It is only now that I work in low resource settings like Haiti or Africa that I realize how far behind other countries still are in terms of gender equality. Having grown up in Puerto Rico, with a culture of machismo, this is not a challenge, just something you unfortunately are used to and know how to deal with. I would say my biggest challenge has been not fitting into the expectations of what a typical surgeon is supposed to look and act like. And by this I mean more in terms of personality and attitude. I consider myself a calm, quiet, friendly person and have found my career choice questioned by people who don’t realize that surgeons can come in all shapes and sizes and don’t have to fit a particular mold. While their questioning in the past led me to have moments of doubt, in the end it only served to reinforce my belief in myself and my own style of practice.

HL: Having children during residency, I have faced challenges with family planning and securing a position for residency training. Overall, I have been exceedingly happy with the choices I have made and opportunities that I have had, yet taking the “road less traveled” has a lot of uncertainty that is not always comfortable.

These surgeons wouldn't change their careers for the world. As they know the road is still tough for women surgeons, they support each other on a daily basis.

These surgeons wouldn’t change their careers for the world. As they know the road is still tough for women surgeons, they support each other on a daily basis.

MB: As a surgeon-in-training, I know many challenges await on the path ahead. However I believe one that will persist is time, or more appropriately a lack of it. There never seems to be enough hours in the day, with self-care, be it sleep, healthy eating, exercise, family, a social life, or other interests, getting pushed aside by seemingly more important professional activities. However numerous studies continue to show the error of these ways, with a quote I love from the New York Times Well Blog stating the “Paradox of self-care: The more energy you give to caring for yourself, the more energy you have for everything else.” In essence, both professional and personal activities warrant our attention to make us complete.

Another challenge has been my delay in recognizing and fully taking advantage of the value of mentorship. Women mentors and men mentors serve an essential role in professional development that cannot be overstated. I think this is something medicine and surgery can and should do better. To encourage trainees and practicing physicians alike to “collect mentors.” There are many types and each offers something unique that, when combined, help a career take flight. No one should feel she or he needs to go at it alone. Which is why I love the hashtag #LiftAsYouRise. It is usually used in the context of women mentors but applies across genders, and suggests we can all lessen the challenges of the next generation, with the hope that mentees meet or exceed a mentor’s success.

Coaching and Mentoring Resources in the Medical Field

Do you feel women in your field are exposed to enough career and leadership development resources and to coaching and mentoring?

HL: I feel that both female and male surgical trainees would benefit from instruction in professional development. This is something that I actively sought out on my own in medical school through the office of professional development. I have heard from many women that they did not realize the importance of networking until residency and wish it had been stressed to them earlier.

If you’re ready to move forward, check out our Step Up Program. The best and most cost effective leadership development program!

PF: Leadership training is lacking for both genders in surgery. There are many resources for mentoring through organizations such as the American College of Surgeons, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Association for Women surgeons, but locally it depends on the resources and on the emphasis that the administration places in mentoring and career development. In many cases it is a “build your own path” or trial and error approach. This is not wrong, but a planned method could help save time and to capitalize on young talent.

AC: I think over time there has been an increase in the interest in career and leadership development and because of this more opportunities and resources are starting to become available to both men and women in surgery. In fact, if you look at the schedule for the Women In Surgery conference in February, a large portion of the program is dedicated to these topics. As far as mentoring, it seems that people are starting to realize the importance and impact that it can have on someone’s career. Now more than ever I feel that trainees are actively seeking out mentors for all the different aspects of their lives and senior folk are willing and expected to be those mentors for them.

That's why members of groups such as #ILookLikeASurgeon play an important role as women mentors

That’s why members of groups such as #ILookLikeASurgeon play an important role as women mentors

"As a woman surgeon-in-training I feel I’ve previously lacked exposure to opportunities for career and leadership development, and coaching and mentoring," Dr. Marisa Boeck of #ILookLikeASurgeon

“As a woman surgeon-in-training I feel I’ve previously lacked exposure to opportunities for career and leadership development, and coaching and mentoring,” Dr. Marisa Boeck of #ILookLikeASurgeon

MB: As a woman surgeon-in-training I feel I’ve previously lacked exposure to opportunities for career and leadership development, and coaching and mentoring. Yet I can’t specify whether this is gender or profession specific, or a mixture of the two. Being a physician is difficult, and even more so a surgeon. The hours are grueling, the stress level is high, and the work, endless. Speaking as a resident, it can be difficult to focus on anything other than making it through your day, interrupted by necessary bodily needs and functions. To focus on a seemingly abstract concept as professional and leadership development, when you have a patient in front of you that demands your attention, frequently seems impossible. Yet through my experiences over the past year and a half of research while away from clinical responsibilities, I’ve come to recognize how critical these areas are for all physicians.

In a broader sense, I think the numbers speak for themselves in that leadership roles held by women in medicine and surgery continue to trail those of men. By a lot. This could suggest a gender imbalance in resources and opportunities, or also other life choices. But it is definitely something that warrants attention, which has been one of many topics under discussion in the #ILookLikeASurgeon community.

Advice to Women in Male-Dominated Fields

What would you say to women who are in other male dominated fields and having a hard time being heard? Would having women mentors help?

HL: I would encourage them to connect with other women in their field. This can be invaluable for validating one’s concerns and finding empowerment to take action. I would also encourage them to read books such as The Confidence Code, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, and Ask for it: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get what They Really Want.

PF: I believe the world is changing and there is positive pressure to avoid gender disparity, and to ensure diversity in every field. But there is still work to be done. Speaking up when necessary and finding our own authentic voice can help. This is the perfect time for change and I think we are on our way!

Finding time to spend with the family is a challenge many women surgeons confront daily.

Finding time to spend with the family is a challenge many women surgeons confront daily.

AC: I would say that, often, it is easy for a single voice to be dismissed. I would encourage them to seek out other women in their profession or even in other fields. Being able to talk to others who are undergoing the same or similar experiences can be extremely validating. Creating this kind of support network (including men who are sympathetic to the cause) not only helps through the difficult times but it can also be empowering and the beginning of positive change. A group of voices is less likely to be ignored and can be the catalyst for change. I would also say never give up on doing what you love.

MB: Social media and technology are powerful. You are not alone, and there is strength in numbers. There are undoubtedly others, if not within your own work environment, then definitely across the globe or within other professions, who are struggling with similar issues. This is how #ILookLikeASurgeon started, based on a young female in an entirely different field sharing her voice. Speak up and form a community. Together, you will be impossible to ignore.

You can follow these amazing women on Twitter

PF: Paula Ferrada, @pferrada1

AC: Ainhoa Costas, @ainhoac63

HL: Heather Logghe, @LoggheMD

KH: Kathryn Hughes, @DrKathyHughes

MB: Marissa Boeck, @KickAsana

Brief Bios

As you can imagine these amazing surgeons have a long and accomplished resume. We are only including here some highlights. Please feel free to reach out to them if you’re looking for outstanding women mentors.

Paula Ferrada MD, FACS, is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University, the formally Medical College of Virginia. She also holds the title of Director for the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship and the Director of the Trauma and Surgical Critical Care Units at that institution. She trained in general surgery at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. She completed a fellowship in surgical critical care at the University of Pittsburgh and spent an additional year of fellowship training at Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland as their first Acute Care Surgery Fellow. She is committed to medical education, particularly in the subject of surgeon- performed ultrasound.

She is an active member of the American College of Surgeons National Ultrasound Faculty (NUF) and the International Director for Ultrasound Courses Development (USET courses) for the Pan-American Trauma Society. She is also the Chair of the Education and Research Committee for the PTS. These roles have allowed her to become an accomplished teacher in this subject locally, nationally and internationally. She has been a Councilor for the Virginia Chapter of the ACS, and is currently the Secretary-Treasurer of the chapter. In addition, she is the immediate past president of the Association of Women Surgeons, Virginia Chapter.

Heather Logghe, MD with extensive experience in the intersection of social media, technology, patient advocacy and medicine. Two years experience as a general surgery resident at a Level I Trauma Center at an academic institution. Served as course coordinator for an innovative online course presented by Stanford University and aimed at fostering an international community for mobile health entrepreneurs around the world. Served as assistant director for a free massively open online course (MOCA), Mobile Health Without Borders, designed to foster an international community for mobile health entrepreneurs. Lectures presented at Stanford and streamed live to global participants.

Marissa Boeck, MD, MPH is a general surgery resident at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia, and is in the second of two research years away from clinical responsibilities. The first was spent at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Master of Public Health program, pursuing studies in health systems, policy, epidemiology, biostatistics, and global health. She is currently living in Santa Cruz, Bolivia working on furthering the development of the city’s trauma and emergency response system, and spearheading the implementation of hospital-based trauma registries. She plans to pursue a trauma and critical care fellowship after completing her general surgical residency, with an ideal career involving a mixture of both domestic and international clinical and research activities.

Ainhoa Costas Chavarri, MD, MPH, FACS is a General Surgeon and Hand Surgeon doing full-time global surgery work. She has been living and working in Rwanda for the past three years through the Human Resources for Health Rwanda Program, teaching and training Rwandan surgery residents and medical students at Rwanda Military Hospital. She trained in general surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a Hand Surgery fellowship at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery in Louisville, Kentucky. She also undertook an additional two years as a Paul Farmer Global Surgery Clinical Fellow, during which time she worked extensively in Haiti and Liberia and obtained a Masters in Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her international experiences have led her to focus her work on education, breast cancer in low resource settings and global oncology. She is currently the secretary for the newly formed Women In Surgery Africa group. On a personal note, she was born in Spain and grew up in Puerto Rico.

Finding a Mentor to Propel Your Career Forward

If you are the first in your family to go to college or to work in a large organization, and you didn’t have many professional role models growing up, you may not be fully aware of the value of finding a mentor. Yet, the sooner you realize it, the better for your career prospects.

The practice of mentorship systems goes back to ancient Greece and to the beginning of most religions. But the modern use of “mentor” and “career mentorship” in the U.S. started in the mid 70s. That’s when advocates for workplace equity tried to identify and address obstacles for the career growth of non-dominant groups.

Inspirational mentoring quote by Marisol Gonzalez

Finding a mentor is a wonderful way to make your journey a much more fulfilling one!

Marisol Gonzalez, Producer at HBO, shares the impact of mentors in her career: “I have been lucky enough to have great mentors. People who believed in me even when I didn’t believe I could do something.  Mentors have impacted me greatly.  They have guided me to be the best I can.  They have pushed me to always work towards excellence.  The biggest impact that my mentors have made in my life is that I know I am not alone on this journey. They have my back, and they are there for me.”

Is there a process for finding a mentor?

Well, if you’re not surrounded by professionals in your field, finding a mentor is a task you must undertake deliberately. You should join professional organizations and attend conferences where you can easily meet the right people. Start developing the relationships as you would with anyone else, and eventually establish either a formal or informal mentoring relationship. Most people’s first mentors tend to be their bosses. The advantage here is that your boss knows your job, the culture of your organization, and your field. The disadvantage is that if conflict ever arise with your boss, then you have nobody to consult with.

Finding a mentor inspirational quote by Will Robalino

Most mentors agree that they derive great satisfaction from seeing their mentees’s dreams become realities.

So you may start with your boss and then set out finding a mentor outside of your organization. Keep in mind that you can have more than one mentor and you can also change mentors as your career evolves and your interests change.

Informal mentoring relationships

Also, when finding a mentor, it’s good to admit that many mentoring relationships are pretty informal. If you have a relationship with someone you really trust, admire and like, you may be able to “use” them as your mentors without formally asking. These can be very fulfilling and productive relationships. Lily Benjamin, SVP Leadership development and organization transformation at a large financial institution in the banking industry, shares:

Two women talking

Have you ever tried this powerful modality of mentoring?

“I have never had a formal mentor, but have had many informal mentoring relationships.  Everyone has valuable attributes that we can learn from, whether we admire or disapprove of them.  Given that we, humans, are evolving creatures, to become our better selves, it is imperative that we are conscious and open to continuous learning.  Being humble and receptive is necessary to make the best out of our relationships with either formal or informal mentors.  That is why I believe the Chinese proverb that says, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.’  Because I am a perpetual learner, I learned from my mentor-figures how to think critically, network, and be respected.  As a result, I am very comfortable with ambiguity, navigating through complex matrix environments, and building meaningful relationships in support of everyone.”

Difference between formal and informal mentoring

Some research shows that finding a mentor and establishing a formal relationship results in more promotions than informal relationships. So besides having a supportive group of informal mentors, you should find someone who understands what it takes to make it in your field. Someone with whom you can establish a more formal mentoring relationship. That means, someone you meet regularly, who sees your potential, challenges you to achieve what you sometimes feel impossible, and helps you set your goals.

What you should know before you go off finding a mentor

Before you go off finding a mentor you should know that research shows that diverse employees (and women) tend to have less access to mentors in their organizations. And often, when they are assigned mentors, they tend to be of lower hierarchical level. Inevitably, this affects the access that the mentor has and the probability he or she will become a sponsor for the mentee. So, if you find yourself in this situation, it may be time to talk to your boss or to the HR team so you may be paired with an executive who can mentor you.

It’s also worth understanding why someone would invest time in your development. To this effect, the answers from these two executives resonate with most mentors I know.

Lucía Ballas-Traynor, a senior marketing and media executive, said:

Lucia Ballas Traynor mentoring quote

It’s important to know your potential mentor’s motivation for investing time and energy in you.

“My main trigger on mentoring others is the fact that I did not have mentors who truly understood the unique challenges faced by a Latina early on in my career.  I had no one to turn to when I needed advice, words of encouragement or just a likeminded sounding board who could share lessons learned from their real-world experience, when I needed it most!  I find that companies and leadership (especially male-dominated) are not taking the time to coach and develop the next generation of professionals.  Consequently the need for mentorship has increased.”

William Robalino, VP, Controller at Prudential Annuities, shares: “There are many reasons I enjoy mentoring. My biggest is the satisfaction I get in seeing someone’s goals and interests become a reality.”

Don’t miss my article on coaching and mentoring where I review different types of mentoring relationships.

The more you know the value you can bring to you mentor, the more productive the relationship. And the more interested your mentor will be in investing time in you. That’s why my biggest recommendation is: Think of the mentoring relationship as a two-way street. Bring as much value to your mentors as they bring you. Explore your mentor’s agenda, their goals, their aspirations and find ways to support them.

Role model inspirational quote by Mariela Dabbah

Role model inspirational quote by Mariela Dabbah

Role models inspire you by showing you what is possible with their own example. Mentors help you manifest your dreams and goals. They can help make the impossible possible. So surround yourself with the greatest mentors to achieve your greatest potential.

And if you are serious about finding mentors and coaches to propel your career forward, consider joining our Step Up program.











Mentoring Quotes to Inspire You- Share Away!

If you landed here, looking for mentoring quotes you are likely in need of a confidence boost. Or you’d like to lift someone else’s spirit.

Either way, you came to the right place. We have put together a collection of inspiring mentoring quotes that you can use in a variety of ways both for self-motivation and to motivate those around you.

5 ways to use mentoring quotes

1 Self-motivation

We all go through periods were we could use some help to get us going. Someone to tell us we are doing great. Someone to help us see what we could do to get out of a place where we feel stuck. In cases like this, the obvious answer is Finding a mentor. But besides that, you could pick one or two mentoring quotes that resonate with you, print them and post them where you can read them often. They could become your mantra when you’re feeling a bit down.

2 Create your own mentoring quotes

Inspirational mentoring quotes by Anna Letitia Cook

Who was your favorite mentor?

Most people tend to consume mentoring quotes, women supporting women quotes, self- esteem quotes, and others. But who says you can’t create your own? Use our collection of powerful mentoring quotes as a starting point and modify them to create a new one. Or start from scratch and write something that relates to your own experience as mentor or mentee. Again, print it and post it on your wall so you can refer back to it often.

Discover Mentor, the organization that pairs youth at risk with quality mentors.

3 Collect quotes from your mentors and colleagues

Inspirational mentoring quote by Will Robalino

Mentors get a lot out of the mentoring relationship

This is a great activity to engage those in your work-environment. Ask them to send you one or two mentoring quotes via email. Prepare a document with all the ones you receive and then share it with everyone. You can also insert these quotes in Power Point Presentations, newsletters, your email signature, and so on.

4 Share and discuss internally

Any one of the mentoring quotes included here are perfect icebreakers. Throw one out as you start a meeting and ask the group to offer their own experiences with coaching and mentoring. Or ask for thoughts around the specific quote you shared. Getting people to think frequently about mentoring creates exposure to the word and the concept. Eventually, in a subconscious fashion, people get to see mentors as a basic, positive and powerful resource in everyone’s careers. This, in turn, will make it easier to establish more mentoring relationships within the organization.

Find a mentor online for yourself.

5 Share via social media

Women mentoring each other

What relationship could you build based on the mutual mentoring approach?

What better way to create a culture of mentoring around all of us than sharing these mentoring quotes via social media? So go ahead and share away!

Please, send us your quotes so we can include a few of them the next time we publish a group of the most inspirational mentoring quotes.

And if you’re ready to take your career to the next level and are looking for more than mentors, explore our Step Up program, the year-round training, coaching and support you need to achieve your career goals. You’ll be part of a large community of women who are here to provide insights and share best practices.

Role model inspirational mentoring quotes by Lily Benjamin.

Let’s all aim for life time learning!

Role model inspirational quote by Mariela Dabbah, Founder, CEO Red Shoe Movement

Did you have role-models growing up? It’s never too late to identify a few for yourself.


Mentoring quote by Oprah Winfrey

Have many mentors through your life!

Mentoring quotes by Marisol Gonzalez

We agree! Mentoring should always be a two-way street!


Mentoring quote by Benjamin Disraeli

Help people see the best in themselves. Great way to mentor them!

Mentoring quote by Phill Collins

Mentoring is always a two-way street relationship


Mentoring quote by Lucia Ballas Traynor

What kind of mentor will you be?


Winston Churchill mentoring quotes

Give more than what you get and you’ll live a rich, fulfilled life.

Mentoring quote by Mariela Dabbah

Impossible is nothing.


Mentoring quote by Lailah Gifty

Are you inspiring great achievements in others?


Finding a mentor inspirational quote by Will Robalino

Most mentors agree that they derive great satisfaction from seeing their mentees’s dreams become realities.

Inspirational mentoring quote by Anna Giraldo Kerr

Have you established a win-win transformative experience with your mentors?


Alejandra Mastrangelo inspirational quote

Mutual mentoring is at the core of the RSM Methodology!


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It’s always about helping those less experienced than you regardless of age or seniority.


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Mentors can last a lifetime.

How to negotiate with confidence for what you want

The successful story of Elaine Del Valle

One of the best ways to learn how to negotiate in your career is to ask those who have done it successfully. Enter Elaine Del Valle. Award-winning actor, writer, producer and philanthropist.

You think you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Think again. When you are multi talented like Elaine Del Valle, it’s not really about how to negotiate for the roles you want but how to create them. And these roles are not only on stage or on screen but also as a writer and producer of the material she really cares about.

Elaine Del Valle headshot

Elaine Del Valle, actor, writer, producer and philanthropist is a great example of how to negotiate with confidence

Trained as an actor under the legendary Wynn Handman, Elaine wrote and developed her multiple award winning off-Broadway one-woman play “Brownsville Bred“– her true coming of age story set in the tough neighborhood of Brownsville Brooklyn NY. She’s been featured on films such as “Elliot Loves”, in comedies such as the web series “Los Angeles” and in the short film “Stereotypically Me.” Recent television appearances include CBS’s Blue Bloods opposite Donnie Wahlberg Elaine. She has hosted the Annual Hispanic Choice Awards taped for broadcast on CBS. And she also enjoys a long, lucrative voice-over career. Most recently, she licensed the series “Gran’pa Knows Best” to HBO. As a philanthropist, Elaine has raised over a million dollars for children with autism through the charity cycling event she founded The Mansion Ride for Autism Charity Cycling Event.

Having a career as an actor is not easy. When did you learn how to negotiate your roles?

I learned that being an actress, especially an ethnically ambiguous, commercial-looking Latina Actress, yielded little power. It wasn’t until I took on the role of writer that I yielded power. The question for me was not so much how to negotiate a role but how to create a role that fitted my interests and talents on the stage and on screen, and also behind the scenes.

I am best known for writing my autobiographical one-woman play, “Brownsville Bred.” The play has led me down more paths than I can state and is still creating inroads for me. Because it was my true Latina coming of age story, my audiences were privy to me and my life philosophy. It created powerful connections between me and those who saw it.

One such connection was with the Multicultural Media Forum and Time Warner Hispanic Employee Group, Viva. The groups invited me to perform my life story several times…I had the gift of being seen by network people and later being able to call them my friends.

I learned that my Latino community was hungry for a voice, especially a female voice telling a true story. I also learned that the voice was so strong that people remembered it.

Inspirational quote on how to negotiate by Elaine Del Valle . "I went into the meeting with a basic trust. The dealings were never adversarial. We all wanted the same thing."

To learn how to negotiate, you first need to know what you want.

I knew that I had to continue to write and so I created a web series, “Reasons Y I’m Single”. Writing, producing, directing and acting in the series became an impressive feat that marked me as a proven player in what we, in the NY Latino Entertainment inner circle, call “The Latino Media Mafia”. I built my reputation with hard work, fairness, helping others, appreciation and a very Latina Point of View. And getting to that point enabled me to negotiate projects that were always close to my heart.

These days I wear the hat that I need to in order to accomplish my to do lists. Every morning I wake up and say “I run my own studio. Del Valle Productions, Inc.” It has many divisions, and I act on the needs of each division as they arise. It also means I’m constantly negotiating.

Don't miss 3 Key Negotiating Strategies for Women

Where did you learn how to negotiate larger and larger contracts like the one you just signed with HBO? Did you have mentors and coaches that guided you through the process?

When I was going into the negotiation for HBO to license “Gran’pa Knows Best” I did my homework on the network and how to negotiate with it based on its past negotiations. I spoke with three people who had had former dealings with them. They acted as my mentors and coaches. I felt this was important to get a foundation, so that nothing would take me by surprise.

I was reassured each time that HBO was the very best network to deal with, especially for first timers. I went into the meeting with a basic trust. The dealings were never adversarial. We all wanted the same thing: For the series to air on HBO. I didn’t bring in an attorney until the very end, because I learned long ago that attorneys make money when there is conflict and I didn’t want anyone to mess up a relationship that I worked so long to cultivate. I went to the attorney with the contract that I was happy with and consulted with her to ensure that I understood the legal language correctly.

In a way HBO held my hand through the process. They spelled out what they needed and I worked my way through to the fulfillment of their needs. It was a great example of how to negotiate by focusing on the outcome both parties want rather on what only you want.

Read more about coaching and mentoring here!

Tell us a little bit about the series. It’s a first of its kind on HBO, right?

Elaine Del Valle and William D.Caballero, director / creator of "Gran'pa Knows Best", the new HBO series

Elaine Del Valle and William D.Caballero, director / creator of “Gran’pa Knows Best”, the new HBO series

Yes, it is. I am currently in production of Season 2 of Gran’pa Knows Best—A comedy web-series starring a 4 inch 3D printed likeness of our Director/Creator, William D. Caballero’s 87 year old grandfather, Victor Muriel. Originally from Puerto Rico, Muriel voices the character and offers his real advice on various subjects. The series offers viewers an interactive experience as advice seekers. The questions that grandpa answers.on each episode are selected from social media users who post tweets tagging @ask_granpa and using hashtag #GranpaKnowsBest. Those whose questions/topics are selected get featured in an episode by way of their first name and social media profile photo.

The Gran’pa character poses are modeled by Chang Kim, using the computerized Zbrush program, and are printed in polymer resin using 3D printer technology. Each one is hand painted by Amy Yamashiro and Kate Keisel. They are then placed in a miniature model home designed and 3D printed by Seth Burney. Graphic design and text animation by Chris Cookson accompany the voice and real advice of Gran’pa Victor Muriel. William D. Caballero directs the series, filming in macro perspective, alongside dozens of miniature and life size props. B roll is added to enhance the visual and comedic effect.

Elaine Del Valle and William D. Caballero film HBO series GKB

Elaine Del Valle and William D. Caballero film HBO series GKB

Were you nervous about meeting with HBO about how to negotiate with a large media company?

As anyone could imagine the idea of sitting in the offices of a huge, respected network such as HBO could be intimidating. While I was nervous, my years of stage performances afforded me the luxury of being able to work through the nerves. Of reaching a relaxed center that gave me the ability to focus and more importantly, LISTEN. I think listening is the most important thing you can do in any meeting. Active listening allows for organic reaction. Knowing what you want to accomplish in a meeting is important. But being overly rehearsed, can make you anxious to get your point across and never leads to the openness that the best working relationships are built on.

More on negotiation: 3 Sure Fire Negotiating Tips

What were some of the lessons that can help others learn how to negotiate with a much larger counterpart?

Know what you are willing and able to give before you enter the meeting. Click to Tweet
Never over promise. Get a baseline on what to expect, so nothing shocks you out of sorts. Take notes. Use those notes to follow up with. In my case, we negotiated terms and I sent an email that spelled out the agreed upon terms. They were happy to have them and used my notes to develop the contract.

Elaine Del Valle Headshot

Elaine Del Valle has succeeded in her career thanks to finding her voice and letting it be heard

Listen to the needs of the company. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For a licensing deal, there are insurance requirements, deadlines you have to be able to make, Trademark and copyright, clearances, etc. It is a long and arduous road that I learned a great deal from accomplishing. And I’d add that if you have never negotiated anything important before, seek mentors and coaches who can guide you on how to negotiate.

For many women it’s hard to negotiate salary and contracts. Particularly difficult for women who are in the arts and social sciences. Do you have any suggestions for them?

Research. In my case, I reached out to a friend whose attorney had many negotiations with the company, another colleague who had a deal that did not reach fruition and a friend who had successfully licensed a film to HBO. I learned from listening to all those experiences.

 You can connect with Elaine Del Valle at:

Tweet her @BrownsvilleBred or @Ask_Granpa

Instagram users can follow her on @DelValleProductions. Follow her on Facebook @DelValle Productions & Casting and @GranpaKnowsBest

And Best of all WATCH GRAN’PA KNOWS BEST on HBO Latino, HBO GO, and HBO NOW! New episodes are on every Wednesday at 7:55pm and also air in between programs on HBO Latino.