When mentee Glorybeth Castillo got laid off from her job, it was a major blow to her self-esteem. However, she decided to turn things around and signed up to the Femme Palette Mentoring program where she was matched with mentor Lucie Chmelikova. And within a few sessions, things started looking up.
What inspired you to join the Mentoring program?
Glorybeth [mentee]: For me, it wasn't really an intention at the beginning. Someone introduced me to Femme Palette at a time when I got laid off from my job. I’d been trying different companies, and it didn't work. So I was like, maybe I need to do something else. And the only way for me to try a different way was to have someone who can guide me and teach me. That’s why I reached out to Femme Palette.
Lucie [mentor]: Well, for me, I have been mentoring unofficially for a really long time. I had people that I was leding for some time, and when I changed my job, I found that they were still coming to me. If they wanted to make a big career decision, they’d always come to me and ask me for some sort of advice. So I thought, well, why don’t I actually do this a bit more professionally? It also came at the moment when I decided to become a professional coach. Obviously mentoring is not coaching, but I was still thinking it's a great experience.
Was there something that surprised you during the program?
Glorybeth [mentee]: My first intention was to get help finding a new job. But then as we went through every session, I felt like a lot of things were holding me up. I was like, okay, I'm not doing this, I'm not confident. So the initial intention turned into something bigger. Lucie really helped me navigate all the doubts I had about myself. Every session was different and I got a lot of takeaways from them. She really tried to ask me questions and bring out all the hidden things.
Lucie [mentor]: What surprised me from the side of working with Glory was how easy it went. The context that Glory was coming from was that she was laid off from her job and there were a lot of doubts. She thought she didn’t have the skills that she needed to grow. But in reality, people often do have the skills and you just need to help polish them a little bit. By just asking a few questions, it was easy.
The second thing that surprised me was how difficult it is to be a really good mentor. Yes, you’ve done things and achieved things in your career, but if you want to really speak to someone, you have to do it in a structured way. Structuring my thinking was actually quite challenging for me.
Glory, what have you learned from your mentor? In which areas have you progressed the most?
Glorybeth [mentee]: In my case, it’s actually more about boosting and finding your strength. When we started our sessions, I remember Lucie asking me to identify my strengths and weaknesses. And I felt like I had weaknesses in each of my skills, or that there was room for me to grow. But every time Lucie asked me questions, it was like, see, you know it already, so why are you doubting yourself?
And Lucie, what did you learn from your mentee?
Lucie [mentor]: For me it was about learning how humble people really are.. We have excellent young professionals, the world is their oyster, yet they are so humble. But on the other hand, what I also learned is really how important it is to work on our self esteem. I remember the moment when Glory got a job offer that she rejected and she was so happy. She said it was the first time in her life when she actually made the decision for herself that she wanted.
Glorybeth [mentee]: That was a big move. I initially joined the mentoring program to get a job. Suddenly someone offered me a job, and I'm declining it. But it feels good knowing yourself and your self esteem.
Do you think that you would have had that strength to decline the job if you hadn’t had a mentor at the time?
Glorybeth [mentee]: I don’t think I would have done it without the mentoring with Lucie because there was a lot of self doubt in me about being made redundant. It makes your confidence drop really low. Lucie walked me through it.
What was your favorite moment during the whole program?
Lucie [mentor]: For me there were these “light bulb moments” of realization with Glory. It happened when we spoke about how weaknesses can be strengths, when we spoke about being a boss. These moments when Glory suddenly realized something.
Glorybeth [mentee]: Yeah, that's true. And also the feedback giving. It was challenging, but that's what I did. As an employee, I also need to provide feedback and sometimes I was afraid. And Lucie was like, okay, tell me what you can say, what is your opinion on this?
What would you recommend to other mentors and mentees?
Glorybeth [mentee]: Just be honest with yourself and also be honest with your mentor. Yes, there was a lot of self doubt in me at first, and Lucie was new to my life, a stranger, and it’s difficult to open up to someone new. So just be honest, it builds trust between you and your mentor.
Lucie [mentor]: I think it's an amazing opportunity to connect with someone and ask all the questions you feel you wouldn't ask in your job where you don't want to ask your boss and you don't want to show your weaknesses. It’s an amazing opportunity to get answers in a safe environment. The right way to do this is to be honest and ask questions.
And I think it’s rewarding for us mentors, too. It’s also a lot of learning for us. It’s rewarding to see your mentee getting what they want.
Glorybeth and Lucie’s mentoring journey proves just how beneficial mentoring can be for both sides. Low self-confidence is a common issue with young professionals, especially women. If you're struggling with confidence or imposter syndrome, working with a mentor can help you discover your potential and approach problems with a newly found self esteem that you didn’t think you had within yourself.