Being a mentor is a two-way street. Not only does it provide invaluable support to someone navigating their career, it also allows the mentors to learn as well.
"Mentorship lets you give back to your community, keeps you in tune with the current market and present issues, and helps you build a meaningful professional and personal relationship," says Megan Fouty, General Counsel of Glowforge.
Fouty' mentors helped shape her personally and professionally. "Their sponsorship helped me get interviews, make career decisions, it gave me confidence to develop my own style of practicing law. It set a golden standard for me in terms of leadership, work ethic, integrity, mentorship, and management," she says. "I doubt any of us got to where we are today without someone mentoring us. Giving back is the right thing to do."
Mentorship fosters the next generation of counsel, and Fouty advocates for using one's position of influence to "bring up fantastic in-house attorneys, increasingly raising the bar and supporting others to be successful".
Making a conscious effort to support and mentor under-represented groups is important. Fouty says more diversity is needed within the law, especially at executive level. Underrepresented groups and women face extra hurdles in their careers making mentorship even more valuable to them.
When it comes to finding the right mentor, Fouty advises "look for someone with whom you connect and put in the time and energy to foster and maintain that relationship."
Go for it! There's nothing wrong with asking someone to be your mentor. Fouty recently published a book, "The Art of Networking" focused on how to find mentors and build a robust network.