Janice. Darla. Lana.


These are the names of just a few women who have been professional, personal, or spiritual mentors for me. It’s crazy to think about the number of mentors we encounter and the role they play in our growth and development, huh?


Some people think that a mentor is something formal—someone that you’re matched with based on your career or your desired areas of growth. Certainly, there are wonderful programs that do mentor “matches” quite well and they do work.


But for me, my most significant mentors—those women I continue to learn from and trust with all of my insecurities—are ones I met through more informal methods. Sure, one of these ladies was my supervisor, but the other two were women I met through civic organizations where we both served. From all of them, I learned the importance of networking, leadership, and courage. They pushed me to take risks and to trust in my knowledge, skills, and ideas. They boosted my confidence when I needed it most and celebrated any accomplishments—big or small—that they helped me to achieve.


To this day, I covet their friendships and their advice, but there’s another important lesson I’ve learned from these women: mentoring is meant to be passed on.


Each of us can teach, lead, and support individuals in our lives who need confidence and encouragement to grow and succeed. Whether it’s through formal or informal means, become a mentor. It’s the best way you can acknowledge and honor the mentors in your life.