September 14, 2016

Paying It Forward Through Mentorship

I am grateful to have worked in a profession that has afforded me continued professional growth and challenges. Through the years, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with strong women leaders that have been role models and mentors to me.  Their willingness to share what they’ve learned along the way has been a valuable tool in shaping my professional growth and development.

When I was recently asked if I would consider joining the mentor program with the Healthcare Businesswomen Association, I had to really stop and think about it.  A few questions popped into my head: What do I have to offer an up and coming professional? What valuable experiences do I have to share? Who am I to be a role model?

So, I did what every woman does when there’s a bit of self-doubt and a decision to make.  I had dinner with a few friends that I’ve known for years.  As only true friends would be, they were very supportive of the mentorship idea. “How can you not do this?” and “Why are you even doubting yourself?” were their questions back to me.  Our dinner together turned into a great discussion on women in business and how we all have a tendency to sell ourselves short.  We all have things to offer; our strengths are our own and should be celebrated and shared.  We’ve all had much success and we’ve all made many mistakes, some bigger than others.  All of which should be shared with others in order to help them find their own path.  Not sharing is the selfish act.

It’s been a few months since I’ve joined the mentor program, and as a mentor, I listen closely and ask the right questions to enable my mentees to make progress towards their individual goals. I draw from my own experiences to know what questions to ask, things that I wished I had known at the time, which helps my mentees think through options they might not otherwise have considered.

I’m seeing through the eyes of my mentees what it’s like starting out in a new career and / or transitioning into another industry. Every generation has challenges to overcome in the workplace, and mentoring has allowed me to understand it from a different perspective.  Mentees are grateful for the insight and thought provoking questions to help them create their own professional journey.

I know without the influence of strong women leaders, my career might have taken a different path.  They took the time to listen, share insights, and ask questions that ultimately steered me in my right direction.  We all have experiences and bits of wisdom to share; I hope by mentoring I will be able to make a small impact and steer my mentees in their right direction. 

It’s both a pleasure and a privilege to have the opportunity to meet wonderful, strong, ambitious and intelligent women navigating their way in corporate America!  I am a true believer in paying it forward and it’s so easy when you love what you do!  

Author
JoAnne Zellner

JoAnne is an accomplished Human Resources Professional with extensive experience serving as a hands-on strategic partner to all levels within an organization.  As a proven HR leader, she provides leadership to emerging corporations by developing and executing HR vision, strategy, and goals to ensure HR practices align with corporate business objectives.

Her career in human resources begin in talent acquisition, recruiting professionals within the pharmaceutical, healthcare, information technology, and sales and marketing arenas.  Over the past 13+ years her focus has been in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries specializing in recruitment, employee relations, benefits administration, performance management, training, and coaching.  JoAnne joined the Consulting and Assessment team with TSP in October 2014 as Director, Consulting & Assessment.

She holds her Professional Human Resources Certification (PHR), Society Human Resources Management, Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).  She’s also a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) with significant experience providing group and one-on-one coaching to support leadership development.  When not working JoAnne enjoys spending time with family, fishing off the coast of North Carolina, and enjoying a great book on the back porch.

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