The offices of the Center for Service and Leadership and Career Development hope to support students who are trying to develop professionally by guiding them on the route to find a mentor. Feb 8., the Center program assistant Katrina Miyamoto and Career Development prep consultant Katherine Felts hosted the workshop, Finding a Mentor: Informational Interviews. This workshop aimed to give direction to those looking for someone who can provide them with motivation, support and help networking — a mentor.
Miyamoto and Felts wanted students to remember that when seeking out a mentor, their comfort is key. Anybody can be a mentor, so students should reach out to whoever they feel would be pivotal in their development.
“[When seeing out a mentor] we need to push ourselves,” Miyamoto said. “It is a fallacy to think that potential mentors do not have time for us.”
The workshop recommended trying to figure out who a first choice, second choice and left field mentor would be. Miyamoto feels that students have nothing to lose, but possibly something to gain by reaching out to a left field mentor — someone that may not have been initially considered, but could be a worthwhile mentor.
Informational interviews were suggested as a great first step in figuring out what mentor is the best fit for a student and how to begin building a relationship with a mentor. This workshop focused on how to prepare, conduct and follow up on an informational interview.
Felts discussed that it is common to feel nervous when first making contact with a potential mentor. She suggests finding ways to break the ice, perhaps with a question that asks the mentor to describe their journey.
“‘Who did you use to be?’ can be a great question that not only allows you to learn more about your mentor but can remind you that mentors are people,” said Felts. “Everyone had to start somewhere.”