The 2 Things You Must Look For in a Mentor

The 2 Things You Must Look For in a Mentor 150 150 Eve Mayer

I was at a crossroads. My social media agency was just a couple years old and I was struggling on what steps to take next. Should I double down on my investments and expand? Should I slow down and take time to learn. How should I handle the issues in my marriage and parenting that the business growth was causing. I decided to look for a mentor. But, I had no idea how to find one and what type of person to look for. In the end, I found two incredible mentors, both of which I’ve had meaningful relationships with for the past 6 years and I learned there are two things you must look for in a mentor.

First, find a mentor who works the way you want to work.

I found my first mentor, Tom Niesen, in my Vistage group. Vistage is an amazing group for CEO’s where you are surrounded by your peers to discuss your success, failure and needed learnings both personally and professionally. Over the months, I couldn’t help but be impressed. Tom is the CEO of Acuity Systems and often talked about how he groomed his employees and ways to bonus them in that truly meant something to them personally. Tom owns Acuity as well as a few other companies (including a coffee company in Hawaii, because he loves coffee). He takes 8 weeks of vacation a year and actually unplugs from work to enjoy them. Tom has been married forever and has an amazing and loving family. When I saw Tom speak, I thought he was captivating and engaging. I realized I wanted to work more like Tom. I don’t think I ever asked Tom to be my official mentor but over the years I’ve watched him and modeled some of my behaviors after him. When I have questions or want an opinion I respect, I ask to see him and he always guides me in the most honest way he can. Plus, the guy is just hilarious. One of my proudest moments is when my administrative specialist, Brisa Castillo, outgrew the opportunities at my company and left to pursue other options. She later went on to work for Tom, where she is flourishing.

Second, find someone who lives the way you want to live.

When I began to search for my next mentor, I decided I wanted to find a woman CEO/Owner who was married had children. I used LinkedIn and struck gold. When I found Lois Melbourne, the the CEO/Owner of Aquire, I was a bit awestruck. She was doing what I was doing, but on a much larger scale! I reached out to her through LinkedIn and Lois could not have been more kind. She agreed to meet me for lunch to see if we would be compatible for a mentorship. We got along famously and scheduled regular lunches where I was able to pick her brain for an incredibly valuable hour. Lois has mentored me for years and still does today. I’ve watched her navigate the sale of her company, successfully working with her husband, raising her son who is now a teenager, building the most beautiful house I’ve even seen, publishing her first children’s books and now starting a nonprofit. Lois is an incredibly busy woman who never turns me away when I need help or advice about divorce, work, parenting, being a woman executive, selling a company and searching for what fulfills me.