Guest article by Liz Whitehead.

I first became familiar with Hera Hub when I partnered with Hera Hub DC and Innovators Box® for the Mentorship Roadshow, supported by a grant from Beacon DC. We collaborated to give business owners an opportunity not just to learn from successful business owners on a panel, but to interact with them and get their specific questions answered. All of us were thrilled to be able to provide a new way for business owners to learn from others success directly with successful people, as opposed to hanging out after a typical event and trying to hastily ask a burning question.

We set aside time for the burning questions at the outset and the business owners who came loved it. We were proud of the results and hosted a second one in 2019 which focused on sales which had another wonderful outcome.

January is Mentorship Roadshow month and National Mentorship month. Even though we are not hosting the event this year for a bunch of reasons, it’s a good time to talk about mentorship. My business partner Heather and I talk a lot about the benefits of being a “go-giver,” whatever you give comes back to you ten-fold. Mentorship falls squarely in that category. In honor of National Mentorship Month I want to shed light on how to grow and develop your business and yourself through mentorship.

Find a mentor.

  • I’ve had wonderful mentors from my former boss, Marsha Firestone, and other successful business owners and consultants Ellyn McKay and Betty Hines. They give me wonderful advice and think of me when there are opportunities. I can count on them for no other reason than they want to see me succeed.

Be a mentor.

  • In the past month, I met up with two of my mentees who have become colleagues and collaborators of mine. Cathy Perugachi is an entrepreneur who is connecting artisans in Ecuador to international buyers. We were connected through the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative. After our mentorship together, we were uniquely positioned to complete a grant together and it was one of the most seamless partnerships I’ve ever participated in. And, we won the grant! Seed Spot and Halcyon are a great local organizations that can connect you with dynamic, driven entrepreneurs.

Stay in touch.

  • I also met up with Craig Chavis who I mentored through Seed Spot. Craig is now a published author and coach in his own right. Watching the people I’ve mentored grow their businesses and grow professionally, is truly gratifying. I also realized that in working with them, we’ve developed easy working relationships and true friendships.

Yes, we refer each other business and win grants together. The biggest benefit of mentorship, however, are the relationships themselves and the true partnerships that come out of them.

Liz Whitehead is the CEO of Diversity Masterminds® and 12PointFive. Liz is a business development consultant that guides business owners so they can leverage supplier diversity networks, have more productive conversations, and win new business.

Twitter: @LCullenDC