Tag: Women

Mentorship: a workplace necessity or a necessity for success?

For the community of business professionals, the idea of mentorship is a hot topic, especially when discussing women in the workplace. We are all aware of the “leaky chasm” where more women are graduating from university than ever before and yet the number of executive leaders is slim. Mikki Taylor, a well-known writer and speaker, said that “many women live like it’s a dress rehearsal. Ladies, the curtain is up and you’re on.” In view of mentoring, it is important for women to take their steps with purpose. It is time we become bold and seek out mentors and mentees. Mentoring future women leaders is a necessity for the workplace as well as personal success.

According to Forbes,  only fifty-four percent of women have access to senior leaders who act as mentors or informal sponsors. The lack of mentors for women is believed to be one of the major reasons we don’t see more women in leadership. Increasingly data show that when more women sit at the decision-making tables, better decisions are made. In order to continue fostering growth, women must begin asking for help and sharing their insight. Mentorship is a wonderful path to begin paving better roads for the future of equality in leadership.

There are countless benefits for both parties involved in a mentoring relationship. According to a recent Forbes article, “it is a broader network of relationships and circumstances that shape individual success.” With many decisions that are made, there are discussions that come before them. When making a change in career choice, almost everyone will phone a trusted friend to hear his or her input and discuss options and concerns. Mentoring is important because there is an educated decision to trust someone who has more experience, a different perspective, and wise recommendations. While the responsibility for life decisions ultimately resides within each of us, we are wise to seek counsel from someone with experience in the issues we face.

The value of mentoring is a two way street, with mentors standing to benefit from the relationship as well. According to a Forbes article, the benefits of  mentoring include new insights into the workforce, valuable connections, new perspective, and the personal satisfaction of sharing experiences. In addition to the personal and professional benefits of a mentor relationship, those who mentor are twenty percent more like to receive a raise.

The guidance, honesty, and input of a mentor can help a mentee become their achieve their personal best. Many mentees desire this relationship to gain knowledge and a specific skill set, but this article points out that they also often receive a broadened perspective, gain connections, learn more about business politics, and gain the confidence to stand on their own. For young professionals who may feel inadequate, take the advice of Sara Blakely, the Founder of Spanx: “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know because it can also be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”

A three-tiered mentoring program is an essential part of Momentum’s mission to advance women in leadership. Each year we pair class participants with senior mentors. Upon graduation, participants receive training on successful mentoring and are paired with a teen, college student, or young professional looking for a mentor. Momentum has fostered over 800 mentoring relationships to date.

If you have experiences, opinions or advice on mentoring, we’d love to see your comments here.

Nominations for Woman of Impact Award

Who do you think of when you think of outstanding women leaders in Alabama? Momentum wants to know! As we prepare for our biennial conference, to be held at the BJCC February 27th and 28th, we have opened the call for nominations for the Woman of Impact awards.

We all know of a woman who meets the criteria. Let us know who you would like to see honored with this prestigious award of achievement! Criteria and nomination forms can be found here.

Raising visibility into the contributions of the many great female leaders in our state is a key part of Momentum’s mission. Most women tend to downplay personal achievement and give credit instead to their mentors, colleagues and teams.

The concept of women promoting themselves defies cultural norms according to this post. In another article published by the Harvard Business Review, many women must experience a “fundamental identity shift” before they can promote themselves. One helpful approach is for women to focus on the personal experiences that helped them achieve their goals rather than focusing on the relationships that supported them. Recognizing outstanding women on their own merits inspires future leaders, both women and men.

Momentum’s renowned past award winners come from many different roles, industries, and backgrounds. Their bios are ready to impress. You can read more about each winner by clicking on their photos. In this video, four of our sixteen past honorees speak briefly about their respective experiences, challenges and accomplishments.

Women in Alabama deserve recognition for their many accomplishments. To advocate for the promotion of women, nominate a woman you know to receive the esteemed Woman of Impact award, then join Momentum for the ceremony to honor the winners on February 27th! Registration will begin in October.

Women & philanthropy

As we previously discussed, women’s financial influence has increased radically due to greater financial independence, more spending power, and growing leadership. Combine increased financial influence with an upward trajectory of women’s roles in philanthropy, and there could be some serious world changing going on.

A brief history of women and philanthropy

According to Inside Philanthropy, Andrea Pactor, Associate Director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, traces the momentum for women and philanthropy back to 1991. In that year, Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor started the National Network for Women as Philanthropists, which changed the way women approached giving and cultivated women donors.

In 2004, the program became part of Indiana University, which allowed Shaw-Hardy and Taylor to make presentations about gender and philanthropy across the country. The program provided donor education to women donors about their power and influence in philanthropy, while also guiding fundraisers to engage women as donors.

This is just one example of the growing movement of women in philanthropy.

Generation and gender statistics

As the Baby Boomer generation moves towards retirement, Millennial women are modernizing giving. According to a recent study, Millennial women support a wider range of causes and are more likely to use new forms of giving, such as crowdfunding or giving circles. 75% of Millennial women said they are more likely to lead with their hearts than their heads when it comes to giving, compared to 62% of Baby Boomer women. However, Baby Boomer women tend to be more strategic and therefore more satisfied with their philanthropy.

Compared to men, 64% of women are motivated by their heart when it comes to giving decisions, compared to 53% of men. However, men tend to be more confident about which tax strategies or methods to use for giving compared to women (52% to 40%, respectively).

Philanthropic education is more important than ever. A strength of women’s philanthropy movement is its multi-faceted support of various causes.  By pairing greater financial independence with philanthropic motives, women have an opportunity to make a huge difference in their communities. As women, we must come together and leverage these resources to maximize their potential.

Visit Momentum’s new Mission Partners page to learn about some great organizations that are investing in the Birmingham community and get involved!