A post on LinkedIn recently caught our attention, and we had to know more.
Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, clinical assistant professor of management and business law, posted a photo of herself and Kelley student Ayesha Pandey, BS’22.
The caption reads, “This is what it’s all about! Mentoring outstanding Kelley business students like Ayesha Pandey is such a privilege. The joy of teaching at the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI is so fulfilling . . . simply the best!”
Ayesha is an intern for the Advancing Indy Women program, a joint partnership with the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI and Linking Indy Women. The partnership helps Indianapolis women advance in their careers and recognize their potential. Professors Westerhaus-Renfrow and Kim Saxton facilitate the year-long program.
Mentorship—for both the mentee and the mentor—is a valuable experience at all points of your career and life. We sat down with professor Westerhaus-Renfrow and Ayesha to hear more about why they say mentors are a must.
Why is it important to find professional mentors both during your time in school and afterwards?
Professor Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow: No doubt about it, it is so important to work as hard as you can to be successful in college. Mentors, however, are additional assets, because they not only talk the talk of success, but they have a track record of walking the walk of success. That walk — which is experience and a track record of success — can serve as an additional support system, can help a college student feel more connected and engaged on campus and can also improve motivation, resilience and ultimately success in school and beyond.
Ayesha Pandey, BS’22: I believe that a mentor is an extremely important guide to navigating life in college. Not only does a mentor act as a source of professional and personal development, but also a source of motivation and encouragement. I believe that my mentor’s knowledge and experience inspire me to develop valuable skills of my own that are important for my growth in college.
Mentoring relationships often go both ways – Both the mentee and the mentor benefit from this relationship. Has this been the case for you?
Professor Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow: Absolutely! There is simply nothing more professionally satisfying than doing all I can to foster and support this generation of college graduates. The opportunity to share and help others avoid pitfalls that I faced in my career, do well in school and the workplace and accomplish their goals is like giving a gift that keeps on giving. Many mentees are so inspired that they become mentors and help others to improve their skills.
Ayesha Pandey, BS’22: Yes, I have certainly benefited from this mentoring relationship. My mentor has been a source of constant guidance. This has helped me develop new skills, better understand my strengths and improve on my weaknesses. Personally, I learn through example- what better way to do so than through a mentor!
How do you find mentors? What is your advice to students wondering how to go about finding mentors?
Professor Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow: I suggest that students identify someone that they want to be like and understand how a mentoring relationship will help them accomplish – or in some cases, clarify — exactly what their academic and professional goals are. Next, find someone who loves to teach! This person really exudes joy and passion for sharing knowledge with others in and out of class. Finally, they need to look for someone who has a network of professionals who align with their interests and goals. As a result, their mentors’ network can eventually become part of their ever-expanding network of professionals.
Ayesha Pandey, BS’22: As students, I believe that it is our responsibility to begin the quest of finding a mentor. A mentor is always present- you just need to start looking for one that you would work best with! I also believe that it is essential to understand what area you would like your mentoring relationship to focus on- whether personal, professional or academic. I have found my mentors by building relationships with my bosses, Kelley professors, academic advisors, etc.
What is the most significant thing (or things) you’ve learned from your mentor/mentee?
Professor Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow: I learned that I have a lot to learn from my mentees! Seriously, student mentees like Ayesha Pandey have taught me so much—everything from cloud computing to what speaks to them in the classroom so I can become a better professor. They teach me how to be more patient, caring, attentive and to listen in so many ways because my mentees come from so many diverse backgrounds.
Ayesha Pandey, BS’22: The most important thing I have learned and observed from my mentor is to be dedicated and passionate. It is through my mentoring relationship, that I discovered my interests and passions. I believe that this is extremely important as it gives birth to an innate drive that is key for one’s path to success.
What are some important things to remember to keep your mentoring relationship strong/healthy?
Professor Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow: I was a first-generation college student, and initially, campus life was a really foreign and scary place. I just didn’t have the confidence to approach faculty in or out the classroom. I had no idea what a mentor was or did. So, I always remember where I came from and treat all my mentees with the utmost respect and care. I want to be fully present and respond to their needs and concerns with compassion and acceptance.
Ayesha Pandey, BS’22: I believe that it is extremely important to communicate effectively with your mentor. Since it is a two-way relationship, you must be able to dedicate time to building a relationship with your mentor. I also believe that one should be open to new experiences- this could mean learning new things or challenging yourself to participate and engage in new and different environments.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Ayesha Pandey, BS’22: I believe that Professor Charlotte is an excellent mentor. She is a strong and passionate woman who is a constant source of motivation. She has helped me grow as a person- both personally and professionally. She is humble- she takes time to get to know her students, respects their backgrounds and works with each of them individually. My college experience would be extremely different without her!
Professor Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow: “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” – Denzel Washington
Posted By: Teresa Mackin, firstname.lastname@example.org