Alexandra (Alex), a graduate of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and founder of a college admissions counseling company, and Phoebe, a 2019 graduate of the School of Education and Social Policy, connected in November 2018 via the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program. Their formal relationship through the program ended a year and a half ago, but they are still connecting regularly and have formed a strong mentor-mentee relationship. Read below to learn more about their mentorship experiences.
- What motivated you to join the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program?
Phoebe (mentee): When I joined the mentorship program, I was seeking out guidance from and connection with someone who has done the things in her career that I aspire to accomplish. [My mentor], Alex, definitely fits the bill. Alex has been a critical supporter for me through Northwestern, and especially now, as I navigate my first full-time role after graduating. It has been exciting to see how our relationship evolves over time as we come to know each other better. Currently, our time together is often spent reflecting on the world and our lives.
Alex (mentor): Only after college did I really begin to value professional mentors in my life. I slightly regretted not seeking out more mentors when I was younger, but I tried to catch up early on in my career. I swallowed my pride and started asking for help, advice, and introductions. I realized I couldn't start a business (and be a functioning mother/friend/wife/adult) without support. I think we all need our "tribe," but too often our "go-it-alone" mentality keeps us from reaching our fullest potential. Because of the tremendous value I received from mentorship, I wanted to see if I had it in me to do the same for someone else.
- What have you gained, personally and professionally, from being part of this program?
Phoebe: As an education consultant and wise sage, Alex has taught me so much. Alex is always excited to share the next big thing in her life, and she has served as an inspiration to me as I've seen her succeed in her career—time and time again (check out her self-published book by the way). Just having someone in my life who I admire that much is encouragement in and of itself. That being said, Alex has also provided me with professional development resources and connected me with her former colleagues, which has also been invaluable in my professional pursuits.
Alex: The other day, I was reading wisdom blurbs from Mr. Rogers (like you do), and one of them challenged me to take a moment and recollect those people in my life who really made me feel whole and at ease—you know, those people who have a way of making you feel heard and special and valued. I thought of mentors and role models throughout my life, most of whom are older women, but then I also thought of Phoebe, my NU mentee. Although I am technically her mentor, she is really mentoring me in ways she may not realize. There is something oddly therapeutic about mentoring someone else—by sharing advice out loud, I think we hear our own advice and drink our own medicine.
- What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Phoebe: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Alex: You can do it all! Just not all at the same time