Mentoring Women: It’s Beyond Sharing Wisdom

What I also love about our mentor mentee interactions is the sharing of stories in our lives and sharing life's ups and downs and how we have navigated them.

Recently, I became mentor to a mother-daughter duo of businesswomen! And I think their journey is what a makes their #MentoringStories amazing! 

Though each mentoring story is different, they all are inspiring. I mentor at least 5–6 women every year and nothing has been more fulfilling than that. To see these girls burgeon and come back and share their success stories is all that one can hail upon.

This story is about my recent mentee who reached out to me. “I am looking for a mentor who can help me scale my business” is what the mail from Najooka said, and I was intrigued.

The amazing mother-daughter duo

I looked her up and the story of the mother daughter partnership was invigorating. She spoke about how her mother became an entrepreneur at the age of 52 because she lost her job, and how Najooka had to step in to help her mother.

I immediately could see that they were energizing each other. Her business was based on the promise of it being a ‘Tohfa, Gift Of A Kind’ and the fact that it was all sustainable was fortifying. I connected with her over a call and her earnestness to do something to scale her business.

While the current generation aims for independence and freedom, they still need guidance and direction not just in their career, but their life as well. We have been going through what Najooka is good at and what she can improve upon. She needs someone to guide her on the business end and help scale her business.

Mentoring her has been a stimulating experience for me as well. It is interesting to be able to bring out the strengths she has which is great communication, design, and the briskness she brings to the table when she speaks about expanding her business.

This girl quit her full-time job to take on something that started off in their home in Mumbai and has been travelling across the country to showcase their work in events and exhibitions. She started off through word of mouth, and now she has grown to be able to supply to corporates.

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Her dream is to make Tohfa the essential gifting product for corporates and any occasion.

Of course, she has a million ideas per minute, and I am sure with the kind of passion she brings to the table she is going to reach for the stars soon.

The mentor mentee bond is for life!

What I also love about our mentor mentee interactions is the sharing of stories in our lives. Sharing life’s ups and downs and how we have navigated them, or how it’s okay to put something on the back burner for the moment.

A mentor mentee relationship is a sensitive one and needs to be dealt with care.   We have built our relationship on trust and respect. Open and honest communication. Flexibility and understanding of other perspectives, and that helps one grow this connect very quickly.

Two weeks ago, she spoke to me about how she took her mom to Jaipur and combined work and a vacation. She met the kharigars in Jaipur to select fabrics for the pieces they were making. I really love the simplicity and her enthusiastic approach to life and to be always by the side of her mother.

“The number one thing I’ve got out of our relationship is to never stop pushing yourself,” says Najooka when I speak to her. As a mentor, that is all one can hope for. To continue to help derive the best version of your mentee and get them to see it for themselves.

“One thing I’ve learned from Najooka is you must be resilient. Her courage and refreshing ideas really inspire me”

It is important to meet mentees where they are, not overstepping boundaries

I have been lucky to have mentors in my late career, who have enabled me with the internal journey that helped me identify my strengths and weakness. Getting mentored has shaped me and has immensely helped me in nudging me in the right direction.

I love being a mentor and nudging where I can, while making sure that I don’t overstep my boundaries when it comes to certain things.

As a mentor, I try to meet my mentee where she is and allow her to be open with me as much as she feels the need to, because at the end of the day, it’s her vision and business. I am here to share my expertise and experience and that is all she needs to flourish, and I am sure she will.

I look forward to meeting Najooka in person soon. Anyone interested in sustainable products look her up on tohfa_the gift of a kind on Instagram.

Editor’s Note: For IWD 2023, we’re publishing #MentoringStories in both fiction and non-fiction, for the IWD2023 theme #EmbraceEquity. See all mentoring stories here.

Image Source: Via Pexels edited on CanvaPro

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