By Rachel N. Wallace
No one reaches a level of success alone without help along the way. Having a good mentor or multiple mentors can be pivotal during major junctures of life—both personally and professionally. I have always been a strong advocate of mentoring and benefited from some amazing women.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17
Public speaking was a fear of mine. I often preferred going unnoticed and hiding in the background.
Mentors can provide guidance and encouragement, steer you clear from disaster, provide insight into things you can’t see, and heal your soul (and often your body, too) when you’re hurting.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan my first mentors were my parents who led, taught, directed, guided, counseled, protected and corrected me in every stage of my life. I learned from my mother how to carry myself as a lady, taking care of family and the importance of putting family first. I learned work ethic, business mindedness, and the importance of integrity from my father. Even today at 49, my parents who have been married for 57 years still shine that guiding light I need and have grown to count on from time to time. Additionally, both of my grandmothers provided my spiritual foundation—sound Godly wisdom and sharing the power of prayer. I watched my grandmothers faithfully serve in church; praying and singing church hymns. They reminded me to never be too busy to spend time with God and thank him just for who He is.
Teachers, Administers & Counselors play a pivotal role in a young person’s life...
...especially during those early formative years. My grade school teacher Mrs. Johnson continued to mentor me during middle school, high school, and even college. She was instrumental in why I chose to attend an HBCU, (Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio) and why I pledged Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Inc. Mrs. Johnson spoke fondly about her HBCU college experience which consequently provided me, too, with a phenomenal educational experience.
In college I was blessed with 2 idyllic mentors— Mrs. Sampson, the Director of Career Services Center, and Mrs. Devond, the Assistant Director. They took me under their wing and impacted my life the most during my time at Central. These ladies taught me how to dress properly and prepare for an interview. I credit them both for helping me get internships and my first two jobs after college. I still draw from their lessons after 27 years.
I can attest to having mentors that have shaped and molded me into the woman I am today because of their wise advice, guidance, and counsel.
During my 10-year career at General Motors there were two women that mentored me—Janice Simpson and Saloni Janveja. Both women were instrumental in helping me navigate my way through GM. Janice Simpson encouraged me to go back to school to get my MBA. Later, Saloni Janveja connected me with an opportunity of a lifetime. Because of her recommendation and vision, I was able to survive a grueling interview process and land the prestigious position of Global Marketing Manager.
Lorraine Thomas is one of the most influential women in my life today. Upon moving to Atlanta in 2009 I took a Christian Education course called, “Emotional Healing” at church. Lorraine was the teacher assistant for the class. Lorraine noted my quiet and observant demeanor; I was hesitant to share. She often referred to me as an “onion” because she recognized there were many layers I had yet to unfold. She, along with the teacher, encouraged me to write and journal. As God would have it, when Lorraine later taught a Christian education course called, “Communicating God’s Love in Relationships,” she asked me to be her Teacher’s Assistant. Lorraine is not only my spiritual mentor, she also serves as my Spiritual Mother. Her presence has been essential in helping me to discover my God-given talents and my true purpose.
Lorraine stretches, pushes and challenges me to dig deeper. Because of her mentorship, she has been able to pull things out of me I didn’t realize were in me.
Fast forward to today, I am now a conference speaker and serve as the Prayer Leader/Intercessor for the ministry. While I love and enjoy working at Cox Communications as a marketing professional, it is my work with Life Empowering Truths ministering to families and the homeless that brings me great fulfillment and joy. I credit Lorraine for helping me find my purpose.
Anyone and everyone can and should seek a mentor, however it is up to you to build and cherish the mentor relationships you have, and never take for granted the people who can help you. Above all, recognize that mentors can be everyday people who have extraordinary and timely advice. They do not have to be superheroes or millionaires or bigtime CEOs. If your mentor chooses you as mine did, agree to be chosen. If not, hand pick someone who can help you get out of your own way.
Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
To find out more about Life Empowering Truths Ministry, visit us at:
https://life and truth.org/ OR email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org