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The Value of a Mentor

Members of Loyola Marymount University’s Women’s Leadership Council, a philanthropic group aimed at increasing involvement and visibility of women in leadership roles within the university, were looking for more direct ways to develop a stronger relationship with the students. After meeting with Ellen Ensher ’87, associate professor of management, the council members agreed that the best solution to connect with the students would be to mentor them.

“Mentoring is one of the most natural ways to reach out and get in touch with the students. People who have a positive role model in their lives will become more successful in their careers and are more apt to serve others in the future,” said Ensher, who is co-author of the book “Power Mentoring: How Mentors and Protégés Get the Most Out of Their Relationships."

The idea turned into the creation of course named “Mentoring and Management.” The course connects each student with a mentor who is working in a field that the student wants to enter. The pair then work together to create a development plan that documents the beginning, middle and end of their project. A completed professional development project is due at the end of the semester. Salita Mitchell, senior business administration major, is planning to work with Kellie Hawking, executive director of the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women, on a program that helps at-risk young women, ages 16 -18, get internships and job placements.

Ensher stresses in her book that mentoring is a two-way street. Protégés, in addition to the invaluable experience and wisdom that they receive from their mentor, often make more money, experience greater job and career satisfaction, and have better work-family balances later on in life. But mentors receive many benefits as well, such as building support networks, freeing up time by having protégés take on projects and enjoying the loyalty of the protégé.  

It gives me hope and encouragement to see a woman who is not only successful in her career but who is so passionate about the work she is doing, Mitchell said. I know that if I put my mind to it I can follow her path and succeed at whatever I want to do.