How Mentoring Defined Me

John C. Maxwell said, “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead, what others cannot see, and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” When I couldn’t see what was ahead of me, amazing mentors helped me see unconditionally and selflessly. Twenty years ago, I was an international student here in the U.S. and did not know how to navigate even the next step. If it were not for three women who helped during my foundational years, I would never be where I am today – a successful Operations and Engineering Senior Manager in a large corporation.

My first mentor, an International Coordinator, who herself was an International student once, not only helped “Americanized” me but also helped me build my very first brand! Another mentor stepped up after 9/11 when there were no on-campus jobs. The Dean of Students, worked her magic in creating positions for students like me who are always short of funding so we could stay in the U.S. Finally, my host mother was the first employer to allow on-campus jobs for International Students. Her program for senior citizens catered to lifelong learning and gave me a job where I could make money and contribute to an inspirational program.

All of these women helped me realize my potential and created opportunities. They were my idols and provided endless possibilities for my future. For the last two decades, I have had the privilege of having many remarkable managers, mentors and sponsors. I was hesitant at first to be a mentor myself because I didn’t know if I was ready and if I would be able to do the role justice. But my reservations were alleviated when other women reached out to me to learn about my experiences, failures and successes to help them with their next steps. And when I joined the Women in Technology Mentor-Protégé program, I realized that I had found my true calling – my Nirvana.  At WIT, the mentors get just as much out of the relationships as the protégés.

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