International Women's Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the achievements and contributions of women and how they continue to shape the future of women in leadership. There are two key areas that stand out in my mind that are crucial to moving the needle for women in leadership in the future.
In today's connected world, the Internet and social media can provide millions of more appropriate and qualified mentors. Indeed, the web has democratized mentorship and made it easier than ever to solicit guidance and advice from people all over the world who have previously beaten down a path much like the one you're trying to follow.
So what does a mentor do? Mentors are those generous people who are open to sharing their knowledge, wisdom, experience, insight and offering their counsel. The best mentors are great listeners who understand your challenges and offer different strategies and ideas to not only help you overcome obstacles but excel at them. Mentors will often see something in you that you may not see yourself.
The average college freshman changes their major seven times. It's okay if you don't know what to be. But work on finding out what you want. Childhood was the time for well-rounded approaches, but as a young adult, you'll need to narrow your focus in order to achieve excellence. Getting by will not attract the right connections and opportunities you'll need to enter the job market.
Without question, having a mentor will enhance the effectiveness of our leadership skills immensely. This is especially true when the methods and management style of the mentor differ and contrast from our own. It is only when we challenge our conditioning by accepting new and different approaches to work and life that we truly grow.
If you are hiring summer students, have teenagers slouching around the house, or you are a forward-thinking CEO, you are spending some time thinking about Gen Z. The follow-on generation to the Millennials is something of an unknown to most. The biggest question: how they are going to perform in the workforce?
When it comes to women in tech, we know there needs to be a shift in attitude. Especially for females first entering and aiming to follow a progressive career path. While many emerging into the industry from technology programs worldwide, once in their field, there is still little advancement into upper management positions.
Coach passed away last Friday, having fought the good fight against cancer, the scourge of our times. You may not know Coach, but I hope you know someone like him -- a person who pours water on you when you are about to flame out, who picks you up by the scruff of your neck and puts you back on track, who shows you that there is indeed a big, wide world out there.
If you're a young woman just beginning her career, unfortunately there is no blueprint for success. No set of rules or guidelines to follow, no guarantee of "having it all." The truth is we all work at different companies and in different industries, report to different leaders, face different challenges and, most importantly, want different things.
At an increasingly vocal time to achieve gender equality in business, Mandy Rennehan is an inspiring leader to follow. Rennehan, 39, is the founder and CEO of Freshco, the first full-service, on-call retail maintenance provider in Canada and the Eastern United States, servicing clients like Apple, Nike and Restoration Hardware. Rennehan recently ranked 25 of 100 Canadian top female entrepreneurs.
One very telling trait in a prospective candidate's makeup is their ability to ascribe whatever success they may have had thus far in their careers to the influence or assistance of others. Often they will speak of a mentor or a series of mentors as pivotal figures. One very special mentor and teacher of mine is the Honourable Irwin Cotler.
Remember, you're not just sending information out into a void; you're sending it into a world where someone is going to receive it. When Patricia Arquette, John Legend and Julianne Moore took the stage on Sunday, they knew millions of people were watching. They showed us that we all have a voice and we can choose how we use it.
My mentoring work has led me to conversations with millennials who have left a positive and lasting impression. I have learned much from them -- practically and personally. Their different view of the world, while seemingly foreign to the older generations, can provide a different lens through which to see things that can have a profound effect on business.
While we cannot make up for the experiences we lack, we can certainly draw from the knowledge of those who have lived before us. Regardless of your age or the stage you are in your life, I believe mentorship is an invaluable tool. There is a reason why maps were created. Imagine a road trip without the aid of a map?
All over the world human beings seek a wise person to tell them a story, to give them something to believe in and make them feel that they belong to something. At their core, our world history, our family history and all major world religions are simply a series of stories, emitted by a leader, and then retold.