The road to professional success is full of challenges, especially for women. It helps to have a mentor who has faced those challenges and come out on the other side.
This May 17 the Tyler Executive Women’s Network (TEWN) is reaching out to young professional women to offer support. Tyler’s former Mayor Barbara Bass is leading the event and Kim Lewis is the keynote speaker. Kim Lewis is known for being lead designer of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and she was born in Tyler, Texas.
Why Women Need a Mentor
Mentors help women succeed in business despite the unique challenges they face. When asked in an interview if she had experienced being mentored, Barbara Bass said when she was starting her career, there were not a lot of professional women.
“They were mostly guys who had daughters,” she said, “And they were being great dads by taking where I was and thinking what they would want if I were their daughter. They guided me and made recommendations, and I had doors open because they were so generous with their time.”
Ms. Bass was one of the original members of TEWN, an organization that started 35 years ago when Tyler didn’t have many female executives. The group helps women network with other professional women because mentorship provides these benefits:
- Female mentors can relate – Each woman has unique hurdles to overcome. Sometimes men have difficulty understanding a woman’s thought processes and outside responsibilities. A woman mentor is more likely to have been through similar situations before.
- Mentees benefit from the mentor’s experience – When women interact with other women who are further along in their career, they have someone who can help set goals, give specific advice and make introductions to other related professionals.
- Mentors offer outside perspective – Sometimes it’s hard to see one’s own strengths and weaknesses. A mentor can see potential pitfalls while they are still in the distance and nurture strengths the mentee may not realize she has.
- The relationship offers mutual benefits – While the focus is often on the mentor providing support, encouragement and advice and the mentee growing personally and professionally, it’s more than that. Both parties learn through sharing thoughts, ideas and professional challenges. Both gain career discernment or lifelong friendship, often both.
What is Playing Big?
The theme of this year’s reception is “Playing Big.” When asked what that meant, Barbara Bass said the event’s theme is based on the book by Tara Mohr.
“Playing big is about getting over your fears, about not holding yourself back,” said Ms. Bass. She said throughout her lifetime she has noticed when presented with an opportunity, women tend to think they’re not qualified enough, that they need more skills, or that someone else is more deserving of the role.
She says playing big is about, “What we do to face the fears, most of which are unfounded, to look at ourselves and get beyond the inner voices we hear that are giving us false information.”
For example, when a woman sees a job posting for which she has all of the qualifications, she might not apply because she assumes someone else is already more capable. She doesn’t give herself a chance at success because she is afraid of failure.
The book by Tara Mohr counsels women to identify the inner voices that whisper they’re not qualified and dissect that message. She suggests looking at what might be the worst case scenario. In the above example, it would be not getting the job. She encourages women to face their fear, set their goal, look at what they need to do to achieve it, and then go for it.
Tyler Executive Women’s Network Connects Mentors
When women gather at events like the TEWN reception, they share their stories and encourage each other to play big. “When I was mayor and was at events all the time,” Ms. Bass shared, “I started seeing a lot of professional women who are our future. I saw them go through the same angst of trying to figure out how to deal with family and work. What I realized is that the more experienced businesswomen were not telling their stories.” TEWN provides them with the opportunity to do just that.
The organization has monthly lunch meetings and once monthly Serendipity after work. Women don’t have to be a TEWN member to attend the May 17 reception.
Brelsford Personnel Supports Women
Brelsford Personnel has always focused on finding the best career fit for each individual looking for a job in East Texas. Driedra Brelsford is past TEWN president and has served on the board of directors because she is committed to helping women find professional success. She encourages women to attend the reception May 17 at the Holiday Inn on South Broadway. Find more information or register to attend here.
Missy Ticer is a content writer and East Texas resident who found her dream job. Content is exclusively for use by Brelsford Personnel.