The article begins by author declaring how many entrepreneurs and those in the business world desire a trusted mentor that can help provide guidance in their career path. Some of these entrepreneurs prefer to read books about influential figures such as Steve Jobs, others prefer hands-on mentorship, and increasingly there are more formal offerings for people looking to get matched up with an industry expert.

Erin Bury, the author, shares how she joined the Mentor Exchange program through the American Marketing Association to get advice on some specific questions to help grow her business. This program pairs up-coming-marketers with C-suite mentors, providing coaching and events throughout the nine-month program.

Her mentor, Shannon Hosford, vice-president of marketing, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, is a women who manages a team of more than 100 people. Erin met with her mentor monthly to discuss everything from hiring strategies to career paths, and her positive, no-nonsense attitude helped Erin define her priorities.

Mentor Exchange is aimed at people with five to 10 years of experience however a mentor is equally important to new grads and budding entrepreneurs. This is where Menteer comes in. This site was recently launched by the Career Skills Incubator (CSCI), a non-profit that helps underemployed people connect with opportunities and mentors.

Victoria Alleyne, founder and executive director of the site, said it provides an easy way to connect prospective mentees and mentors in the CSCI. She built the site with .CA community investment program. Anyone can sign up to be a mentor or mentee. One of the unique features is they encounter people from all backgrounds and ages to be mentors. Alleyne says, “It doesn’t matter if someone is young or unemployed, they can often be tremendous resource to another person, if only by keeping them on track with their goals, listening, asking good questions, and putting things in context.”

There are three elements which make a mentor-mentee relationship successful:

1. The relationship must be mutually beneficial, so a mentee isn’t just using the mentor for contacts and not actually working with them.
2. Fit is critical. Not everyone makes a great match, and both parties need to trust each other and feel it’s the right fit.
3. Both sides need to manage expectations and set them out clearly. Aligning on what you hope to achieve and how often you meet or connect leads to a positive and healthy relationship.

Mentors can be integral to entrepreneurs staying focused on the big picture, rather than daily grind; the mentor has been through many of the same things and knows how to keep focused on the end game.

At the same time, an experienced mentor can also be there to offer reassurance and rebuild your spirit when you are having a bad day or feeling defeated by a setback.

Being an entrepreneur can feel like a lonely enterprise, and it doesn’t have to be!

I have personally used a mentor for my book and I am reaching out to a mentor now for the next leg of my work. I value the mentor/mentee process!

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