It’s a funny way to begin a post about mentoring in a business context, but I’ve been a fan of science fiction movies from childhood. My dad used to love to watch them with me, the old black and white movies. One of my favorite was “The Day of the Triffids,” and those taller-than-people plants that moved were very scary. This love of sci-fi has stayed with me and I’m an unashamed fan of several television sci-fi franchises including Stargate SG-1. One of the characters of which I’m fond is that of Master Bra’tac, the mentor and lifelong teacher of one of the SG-1 team members, Teal’C.
To me the Master Bra’tac character was the perfect mentor; a mentor is a teacher or trusted counselor. I believe it goes a bit deeper…I believe it also means that a mentor is someone who supports and comes alongside someone and passes along what he or she has learned – the successes and the mistakes.
- “…Hot Mommas® Project Mission: To increase self-efficacy in women and girls by providing scalable, global, free access to role models online…Long Term Vision: To create the world’s largest free and online case study library combining the worlds of social media, curriculum and role models in a real-time, interactive learning community….”
Why this project done this way? Again from the website:
- “…Role models are tied to success…[studies have shown] women are less likely to network and promote themselves than their male counterparts and that girls and women are more likely to limit their career aspirations due to lack of confidence in their abilities…Access to role models in the form of case studies is a known successful intervention or solution to this issue…”
- “…Work-life balance is a growing concern…The problems associated with work-life balance are well defined, however the solutions are not. In exploring our case library, readers can begin to play a role in their own work-life balance solutions….”
- “…It works…case approach increases retention of key concepts by 33% for an undergrad or MBA student based on preliminary pilot testing [emphasis theirs]….”
This past April The Washington Post ran a story featuring the project and its applicability:
- “…Frey then created an online case study database called the Hot Mommas Project that allows ordinary women to tell their stories and share insights on balancing work and personal life. The cases studies are based on a model developed at Harvard Business School, but they’re shorter and much more personal — and all have female protagonists. Some tell stories of corporate success, while others simply highlight a challenge and offer a starting point for discussion. All are valuable, Frey says, because research shows that seeing a woman play a central role in a case study makes other women more confident about what they can accomplish. [Kathy Korman Frey, a 37-year-old Harvard MBA who runs a strategic consulting firm in Washington]…”
To me this is a fantastic program…and an ancient idea: older women passing along what they know to younger women. And I know from personal experience how challenging it is for younger women to try to find this balance between the desire for career and/or a business of their own and a family and personal life…I have two grown daughters and several grown nieces…they all ask these questions. I was invited to add my own story to the database which I have done; it can be found here. If anyone were to ask me if it is a valuable thing to seek a mentor I would answer: yes. Most definitely.