Women in Business: The Power of a Female Mentor

Learn to cultivate a relationship with a fellow woman in business who can help you grow professionally.

In today’s competitive and fast-paced professional world, it’s important to find support and motivation to help direct you toward reaching your goals. Cultivating a strong relationship with a mentor — specifically a female one — who can help guide and inspire you can make all the difference in your personal and professional life.

A female business mentor who can relate to your challenges and aspirations can encourage you by sharing her own experiences, failures, and successes. At the same time, she can help you utilize your strengths, realize your weaknesses, and understand your potential, says Angie Chang, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Women 2.0.

Here are tips for what to look for in a female business mentor, how to find one, and how to cultivate a strong mentorship with one.

What to Look for in a Woman Mentor in Business

Look for someone who exemplifies qualities you’d like to have, has experience in your field, or has skills or successes you’d like to achieve.

“Your mentors should be people who excel at something you would like to improve upon,” says Chang.

How to Find a Female Business Mentor

Networking is important in finding the right female mentor. Chang recommends asking colleagues, working with professional networks, or searching on LinkedIn for a mentor you respect and admire. “Ask for introductions through your existing connections,” she says.

You can also attend conferences and seminars of like-minded professionals. Consider the speakers and panelists, and “approach them for a conversation, and ask for a business card to follow up,” Chang says.

How to Cultivate a Fruitful Relationship With Women in Business

A mentorship relationship is much more than simply asking, ‘Will you be my mentor?’” Chang says. “It’s first and foremost a relationship that strengthens over time and exists because you stay in touch.”

That relationship takes a time and shouldn’t be rushed. “First, invite your mentor to meet over a coffee and shared conversation,” Chang suggests. “Share your story and why you are seeking mentorship. Ask for advice and listen.”

Stay in touch, and request a second meeting where you can share updates on your life or how you’ve grown as a result of their advice. Once you’ve established a good foundation with the person, “gently ask for their continued support as a mentor because of the knowledge you’ve gained from their shared wisdom and words,” Chang says.

Finding a strong mentor to guide and encourage you in your career or entrepreneurial endeavors is an essential part of professional growth, and can help you develop the skills and strengths you need to improve upon your success.

“A mentor is someone who is paying it forward,” Chang says. “Make good use of your mentor’s time and make them proud. Ask them what they imagine for you, what they think, and take it to heart.”

Some day down the road — perhaps sooner than you think — you may be able to pay it forward as well, mentoring another up-and-coming woman in business.


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