*This is the second iteration of the “Thanks Sis” sub-series. A series dedicated to discussing the Black Woman corporate experience from a millennial perspective*
There are so many things to unpack about the power of mentor-ship and its absence in the workplace from a Black woman’s perspective, but I’ll highlight here what has helped me through my stint in corporate America.
In New York City- even if you bump a beautiful, Black sister and get a couple eye-rolls while commuting during rush hour because you’ve slowed her down or stood in her path- you can feel the gumption and productivity emanating from her to the point that just being around her is empowering. An accidental inspiration; you feel you can do it just because she did. Black Girl Magic can be infectious that way. The most gripping and memorable instances of witnessing the magic though, are when she focuses in on you and helps build you up. When she willfully mentors you, the limits are endless.
In my case, in spite of there being no current program at my job to aid with mentorship, I have three women of color who I have grown to call mentors over our tenures of working together. They have been my impromptu therapists, advisors, facilitators, networkers, and friends who have seen ME and have encouraged my movements along my path to pursuing my passions.
These Black women have truly acknowledged my potential, have given me possibilities and opportunities to grow my professional experience both inside and outside of the office, and also have helped me extend my network; honestly, they have inspired me to mature in aspects I didn’t realize I needed growth in.
They have saved me from feeling alone in a space where the other women of color and I occasionally feel pitted against each other for any small acknowledgement of our skills in our individual practice groups. I have been rescued from feeling a seesaw of emotions as I go from the hyper-visibility I’m given when diversity questions arise, to the forlorn feelings I get when I’m often overlooked for promotions and raises. My mentors have helped me balance the extremes that I’m asked to display daily in my role here and to be generally graceful in all of my ventures in corporate diplomacy going forward.
I have had my confidence tripled since having these Black professionals in my corner. I feel like I can tackle any task efficiently and effectively. Through this experience, I was taught to never be afraid to ask questions for clarity and perspective or for help with understanding new concepts again. Because they’ve helped me validate the true weight of my skills in my own mind, I can now make the moves I need to in my career so I can find true fulfillment. Most people pay for this type of advisory help! The value of our interactions has been beyond priceless to me.
In turn, I have tried to mentor other women in the workplace to maintain the air of helpfulness in any way I can. I’m thanking these beautiful, mentoring sisters by being what they have been to me for someone else. Helping others truly provides the perspective and purpose that many Black women are aching for in corporate workplaces, so help the nearest Black woman near you for a quick mood elevation and to also begin a lasting, fruitful connection that will only get better as you both progress.
Please join me in doing so through my brand: Help inspire passions today!