Guest Blog Post by Nicole Carter, WISE Within Mentee 2018 + Coordinator, Distribution and Partner Marketing for Pac-12 Networks
As a relatively new member to the Bay Area chapter and eager to meet incredible women in the industry, I decided to apply to become a WISE Within mentee for the 2018 program. WISE Within is the national signature mentoring program of WISE. Hosted by every chapter across the country, this integrated, guided mentoring program encourages professional development and fosters relationships amongst women across the sports and event industries. The goal of the program is to provide early-career women the opportunity to learn from senior-level professionals and allow mentors the chance to give back while empowering future generations of female leaders in the industry.
Our first collective meeting was hosted at BeSpoke San Francisco! The WISE Within Co-Chairs, Jessica Smith, Vice President, Sponsorship at the San Jose Earthquakes, and Kelly Christian, Assistant Manager, Sports Marketing at Levi Strauss & Co., warmly welcomed everyone to the program. I was both anxious and excited to get started and find out my mentor! Kelly kicked off the program by introducing each pair and providing context on how each pairing was made based on goals, career experiences, and professional interests. We broke off in two’s to get to know each other, to outline our goals for the relationship, and to establish mutual commitment to the program and to each other.
Lucky to be paired with a superstar in Partnership Sales and Business Development for the San Francisco Giants, I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to learn from and alongside my mentor over the next several months! We began by swapping career stories and sharing personal interests. Kelly and Jessica provided each pair with packets filled with insight on how to best capitalize on the learning opportunities before us, as well as with various questions and prompts to get us thinking about our professional and personal development goals. Given that I am currently working in my first full-time role in the sports industry, I was so excited to hear my mentor’s advice on how to handle challenging situations, how to create professional goals for myself, how to prepare for meetings, and how to ask for feedback on performance and work quality.
Reflecting back on my experience in the program, our numerous group discussions and one-on-one mentoring sessions gave me the tools to determine my areas for professional improvement and to create a personal career vision based on my individual traits. With the advice and encouragement of my mentor, I began taking ownership of small projects at work, thoughtfully tailoring my short and long term career goals, and forging meaningful connections with coworkers and industry experts. One of my specific goals was to continue meeting new people and learning about their careers. My mentor held me accountable for setting up informational interviews with women in the industry and for keeping in touch with those who have advised me along the way. From our group mindfulness event, I learned the importance of taking time to center oneself so that we can show up as our best selves at work and in our personal lives. Taking 60 seconds to mentally refresh during the workday helps me maintain focus and meditating in the evening provides a space for me to wind down and decompress. Our collective group discussions prompted invaluable insights around leadership and self-awareness, as well as how our values and traits constantly shift over the course of our careers.
Want to Get Involved?
For those of you considering applying for next year’s program, Jessica believes that “WISE Within is an incredible opportunity to lead. Watching talented women at all stages of their personal and professional journeys come together to support one another through programming that allows everyone to challenge themselves to be better is what WISE is all about.”
In honor of National Mentoring Month, WISE SF Bay Area will be hosting its annual Speed Mentoring Roundtable event at the St. Regis San Francisco from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. The application and pairing process for our 2019 WISE Within mentoring program will kick off in February so be sure to purchase your round-table event tickets here: Speed Mentoring Roundtables. We look forward to seeing you there! And to my mentor, thank you for your patience, empowerment and unconditional support along the way!