Lean In event discusses mentorship

The book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg has inspired networking events and business seminars aimed toward helping women advance in the business world and Pacific Lutheran University is no exception. PLU hosts a series of these events based off of chapters from the book, the most recent of which focused on the mentor-protege relationship.

“Lean In: Are You My Mentor?” took place Monday in the lower Anderson University Center, where many students and faculty members came together to discover the purpose of  finding a mentorship with the guidance of a four-person panel.

The panel consisted of Ford Motor credit worker Patty Krise, Laura Majovski, vice president of Student life and dean of students, psychology professor Wendy Shore and academic advisor Pat Roundy.

Catherine Swearingen, the director of Career Connections, asked the panel to describe aspects about mentorship, such as how to choose a mentor, if a mentor should be of a similar demographic as his or her protege, why trust is important in a mentorship and many other topics.

The panel mostly agreed that an individual should not seek out a mentor but that the mentor should seek out their protege.

“Never choose, just let it happen,” Krise said. “Get to know and work with that person.”

Majovski said all the mentors or mentees she has had have sought her out.

“People who saw potential in me guided me,” Majovski said. “And I did the same. No one asked me to be their mentor.”

As for demographics, the panel agreed it was the mind and knowledge of a person that mattered, not their race or gender.

“If you’re a woman in a STEM program, you will be in a male-dominated field,” Shore said. “Someone is just as capable at giving you advice if they are the opposite gender. Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Roundy emphasized this point, saying that people need those who have the knowledge for a task, regardless of race or gender.

Finally, the panel discussed trust within the mentorship. Krise stressed the importance of trust, saying it is fundamental in a mentorship and without it, the relationship is shallow and superficial.

There will be two more “Lean In” events this semester. “Is Balance Bogus?” will take place March 17, and “Lessons from former Lutes” will April 14, where the panel will be made up of alumni.

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