When we launched The League, one of the top professional wishes was mentoring. Many colleagues didn’t know how to find a mentor, especially if their networks were limited, and we created one of our flagship programs for members. Mentor Circles provides a small group the chance to engage with others about varying topics- conversations they might not otherwise consider with participants they might otherwise not encounter. This cornerstone of collaboration and conversation is part of what makes this program so powerful and successful. You might even recall, we shared a blog by League Outcomes Coordinator Lisa Brancheau about our Mentor Circles back in February. Now we hear from participants below.
We spoke with a few participants from our past mentor circles who were excited to share some of the reasons they found this program so rewarding and what drove them to participate in it several times over! So, we asked: Why did they participate? What was the best part? What advice would they offer others? And, what was the biggest takeaway for them? While we here at The League might feel the benefits of mentor circles are apparent, we thought it is important to share these perspectives with others who might not be clear on what a mentor circle is or how it can help them professionally.
The responses to “What made you want to join a mentor circle?” really hit home on just why we think this program can be so valuable for global education professionals. Our participants shared:
“I joined a Mentor Circle on a quest for deeper, intentional career introspection. I was seeking an opportunity that would challenge me to consider my potential professional outlook through guided conversation with other international education colleagues.”
“I can’t remember why I joined the first time (in 2016 or so?), but I was impressed with the women who created The League and thought, why not! Since then, I’ve kept coming back and participating in the Mentoring Circles almost every cycle because I get a lot out of it, and it is not a big commitment. I have met some wonderful people (women mostly), made some good connections, and learned a lot about people and the International Education field.
I even joined a “Career Connections” mentoring relationship and have made a very good friend from it!”
When asked about the best part of Mentor Circles, their answers were about learning from others’ perspectives and experiences. These connections are really at the heart of what makes this program so impactful, and we are thrilled this effect is prominent within sessions and its outcomes.
“The absolute best part of the Mentor Circles is the opportunity to connect with other female international education colleagues. The diversity of experience and perspective lent itself to generating rich conversations, which positively impacted my own personal career self-reflection.”
“It is easy to do, and I have learned so much about different parts of our broad field of International Education and people from different geographic parts of the world. It allows me to travel (virtually) and learn about different perspectives and points of view.”
We know not everyone might be sold on the idea of Mentor Circles and their positive impact, so we asked our participants what advice they would offer to others thinking about participating in these groups?
“It is so easy to do and takes so little time, but the rewards are great. The mentor circle coordinators have done a very good job of matching people according to their interests and what stage of their career they are in.”
“Opening oneself up to vulnerability both internally and externally can be a challenge. The Mentoring Circles are a safe space to have open, honest, difficult, yet constructive conversations that ultimately yield tremendous career clarity. Joining a Mentoring Circle is easily one of the best decisions I made for reinvesting in myself and others.”
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we asked participants what their biggest takeaway was from Mentor Circles.
“My biggest takeaway was expanding my network to include some of the sharpest and caring individuals looking to elevate themselves and their colleagues. The incredible people in my Mentoring Circle serve as champions and cheerleaders for one another’s success. There are simply no words to describe the high level of empathy, support, and uplift I received from these amazing women.”
“Joining the Mentor circles has been enriching both personally and professionally! It’s not so much (for me) about the topic of the conversation, whether it’s “negotiation” or “Blazing your career trail” or something else. It is more about meeting and sharing and learning from and mentoring people who value similar things but who may come at it from slightly different perspectives. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment.”
If you have been on the fence about joining our Mentor Circles program, or have seen our promotions for it but never considered being a part of it, consider this your sign to join! We would love to have you, and we know you will walk away from it with experiences, professional growth, and learning opportunities you might not have otherwise encountered.
We want to extend a BIG thank you to those who participated for taking the time to share their experiences and insights about Mentor Circles with us!
Learn more and join our next round of Mentor Circles here.