Having a mentor can be a game-changer. For professionals, mentorship provides guidance, encouragement, and helps them build the skills needed to achieve their goals. At Trailer Bridge, the power of mentorship is embraced by our leadership, who have made career development and coaching part of the company culture.
Recently, Trailer Bridge’s Chief People Officer, Indie B. Bollman extended the benefits of mentorship beyond Trailer Bridge and participated in Jacksonville Business Journal’s virtual Bizwomen Mentoring Monday event. Here, she and other area business women served as mentors and provided guidance to female professionals from Northeast Florida.
This is the third year Indie has been a part of the event, and it’s something she believes in strongly.
“I am passionate about teaching and mentoring and believe it’s the obligation of leaders to provide that to their teams – to help them grow. Bizwomen Mentoring Monday does this on a broader scale by allowing area women professionals to connect, share, and receive mentoring and advice from other women,” said Indie.
The event catered to a diverse set of participants – women from different backgrounds, industries, and stages in their career. But the common thread between them was their interest in developing their skill set and growing in their field. Indie and other mentors answered questions like:
“How do I plug into the local professional community and network more?”
“How do I expand my leadership skills?”
“How do I interview candidates to make sure I hire the right person?”
Participants moved through rounds of “speed coaching” where a group of 3-4 professionals were matched with a pair of mentors. The group then had 15 minutes to introduce themselves, ask questions and discuss the answers. Participants were matched with mentors based on background and areas of focus to help them get the most out of the experience.
Indie’s partner mentor was Jackie Perrault, Director at the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center, a non-profit whose mission is to support the development of women leaders in Northeast Florida. This partnership allowed them to give their group members a combination of personalized coaching and a range of resources for women entrepreneurs offered by Perrault’s organization.
Simple Advice for Professional Success
When asked what the most common piece of advice she gave during the event, Indie said it was simple: “Pay attention.”
She elaborated by explaining these two words had a powerful application in multiple areas of leadership and development, as well as staying on top of trends in all areas of business and what’s going on in the world.
For leaders looking to better serve their teams – “Pay attention – from the interview process through developing the team; to developing yourself and your business.”
For professionals aspiring to grow in their fields – “Pay attention to who you admire in a leadership role, and if you can get in front of them, do – ask questions and pick their brain. If it’s not someone you can buy a cup of coffee, read about them every chance you get.”
In addition, Indie says the best way to grow is to embrace learning as a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. One way to do this is through consuming as much information as you can – read, research, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, and learn from the people in your space that are having success.
Chances are, you won’t agree with everything you find. That’s ok. Your job is to find the pieces that resonate with you the most and create your own special brand of leadership.
The major takeaway from the event: if you are a woman in business, you are not alone. While the participants go to the event looking for coaching and guidance, the mentors also learn from the women they advise. So even though each group had only 15 minutes together, the connections made will benefit them long after the event is over.
Indie agrees that connection is the best way for women to support each other professionally: “Just connect. Learn from each other, point each other out when there is a win, acknowledge, support and uplift.”