Oct 24

Mentor It Forward

Combine mentoring, speed dating, and the concept of “pay it forward” and you get a cool new initiative sponsored by Mayor Bloomberg called “Mentor It Forward.” The program is part of Women’s History Month and is structured in two parts – students from Barnard College and other NYC colleges receive advice from professionals in a “speed mentoring” structure similar to speed dating; then each of these students will in turn mentor a high school student later in the year.

Click here to see “Mentor It Forward” in action.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with several women from Barnard, Hunter, City, and several other New York City colleges. They asked lots of great questions about my professional background, challenges that I’ve faced, things I enjoy most about my work, and things I’ve learned. Many of them had concerns about how to select the right major, how to decide on a career, and how to know whether they’ve made the right choice - and as we spoke I heard echoes of many of the same questions I had for myself when I was in college. I answered as sincerely and succinctly as I could, and I tried to think about the type of advice that I would give myself at that age if only I had a time machine. I created the below handout as a resource that I thought might be helpful for someone just starting out on the path of navigating her career.

                            The Path to Success

The three main pieces of advice that I would give to anyone still in college or just starting on their career would be:

  1. Learn how to set goals from now. Goal setting is a life-long process. No matter where you are, you should always be thinking about your next step.
  2. Learning is a life-long journey. It doesn’t stop just because you’ve earned a degree. Make sure that you are continually learning and growing. If you feel yourself getting comfortable, then it’s time to start thinking about the next challenge.
  3. You don’t have to do just one thing. Each of us has so many talents and capabilities that it’s a shame to pigeonhole ourselves into just one area. The days where we spend 30+ years doing the same job are over. Now-a-days it’s very common for people to work for multiple companies, and even to transition careers once or twice. This means that a student’s major is only the first step in a journey, it’s not a life sentence.


In addition, here are a few books/resources that I highly recommend* :

The last two are books that I tend to reread often because the concepts are so useful.


I hope that the young women I spoke today found something useful to take away from the conversations they had today. I wish all of them a very successful and enjoyable journey.

*NOTE: The book links are not affiliate links and I do not get paid for any items recommended on this page.


  1. aaronb

    A lesser known book that I have read (and recommend in my workshops) is titled, “Do It! Let’s Get Off Our Buts” by John-Roger and Peter McWilliams. It is easy to read and one finds themselves nodding their heads in agreement with their wisdom.

    One review says, “The McWilliams break their advice down into 6 steps, with each step having sub chapters. It is easy reading, and the language is simple but direct. There are fantastic quotes from famous and not so famous people. This self-help book will really help you to move from your comfort zone to taking steps to reach your dreams. But like all self-help books, you have to do more than buy it, more than read it, more than agree with the authors….You have to take action, you have to Do It!! And yes, you must lock up your but’s and starting doing.”

    By and large, this book should be in everyone’s mentoring program.

  2. Myesha Cobo

    If you are contemplating what you want to do when you leave school or further education a great piece of advice is to do something that you are passionate about. You are going to be working a long time and you are now in a position of power. By laying down some carefully planned foundations now, you will be able to start out your working life, doing a job that inspires you and is interesting to you. Fashion is an interesting subject to choose for many reasons. One of the advantages of taking up a career in fashion is that there are so many branches to the subject and different roads you can choose to go down. -

    Most recent short article straight from our blog

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