All Articles Tagged "mentors"

“Sometimes We Have A Hard Time Asking For Help:” Mahisha Dellinger On Launching CURLS Girls Rule the World

March 16th, 2016 - By Ann Brown
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mahishaOften times, women of color find themselves alone and isolated as they work on their careers, but having a mentor to help guide them can make all the difference.

“I didn’t really have mentors in my life and if I did I feel I could have done things earlier, I could have avoided some pitfalls, and I could have had someone to help guide my way as an entrepreneur,” said Mahisha Dellinger, founder and CEO of natural hair care products company CURLS. Dellinger also created CURLS Girls Rule the World: Empowering Entrepreneurs Luncheon. The event, which is co-sponsored by MadameNoire, takes place April 1 in Harlem, New York, and will host 100 girls of color, ages 12-24, from Westchester and New York City, helping them tap into their entrepreneurial spirit.

“I started this program because I wanted to give young girls of color the opportunities to be mentored that I didn’t have,” said Dellinger. “For the event we will bring in 25 mentors to partner with these young girls to share their experiences and life lessons. These women will really be invested in the lives of the girls participating.”

The luncheon will include “Mentor Match Up,” where girls will be paired with the program’s “Celebrity Expert Mentors” who will have lunch with the girls and share their personal lessons in business and life.  Confirmed mentors include award-winning novelist Zane; acclaimed R&B singer Vivian Green; Ohio State Representative and President of the Ohio Black Caucus, The Honorable Alicia Reece; as well as Emmy Award-winning Reality/TV Talk Show Producer of the “T.D. Jakes Show” Adriane Hopper Williams. Brande Victorian, Managing Editor of is also participating.

Founded in 2002, CURLS counts celebrities Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Nia Long, Tia Mowry, Chili of the Grammy award-winning R&B curls mentor eventgroup, TLC, Blair Underwood, Ashanti, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Echo Kellum among its customers. Curls products are sold nationwide in Target, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Rite Aid, CVS and Duane Reed. Given the success she’s experienced as an entrepreneur, Dellinger wants to be sure she’s paying it forward.

“I think in our community sometimes we have hard time asking for help, especially Black women. We think we need to be strong Black women and do it all ourselves, but this can make the process longer, and full of pitfalls you could have avoided. It’s important to help one another,” she said.

That help won’t just come out of the one-day event April 1, the mentors will continue to work with the girls long after the luncheon. “They will call, Facetime, have local visits. The follow-up is very important,” said Dellinger.  And next year the program will expand into a two-day conference.

Tried A Digital Mentorship? 3 Tips To Build A Relationship With Your Dream Mentor Outside Of Twitter

October 14th, 2013 - By Rhonesha Byng
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via @TaiBeau

via @TaiBeau

It’s almost like the golden ticket. Every career minded millennial woman nowadays is in the market for a mentor.

In the age of girl power so to speak, when we have woman, Janet Yellen, who was just nominated as the Fed Chair, and an awards program declaring that “Black Girls Rock,” you’d think a mentor would be easy to find. And yet research shows only 1 in 5 women in the US, just 19 percent, has ever had a mentor. And some of what women crave out of mentorship can now be replicated in digital form without even needing to know the woman in real life. I like to call it, digital mentorship. Following influential women on social media can serve as a form of mentorship. Many of these high profile women are aware that a lot of their followers are made up of women who look up to them.

“Anyone who has worthwhile insight or advice must share it where people are! In this day and age, that means you have to do so via social media, especially where millennials are concerned,” explained style expert and on air personality Tai Beachamp. “That’s where the audience is.”

Powerful black women are on Twitter and they’re engaging and interacting with their followers and sharing things almost like a mentor would share with their mentee. Tai Beauchamp recently announced in a tweet that she’s doing “#TaiTalks Wednesdays.” And Bevy Smith, who boasts 65,000 followers on Twitter, is another of the many influential women sharing her wisdom via social media.

“[M]entoring has evolved,” explained Beauchamp. “It’s no longer about having monthly or bi-monthly meetings–very few people have time for this traditional model. So I believe in speed mentoring both via phone and social media.”

A Guiding Hand: Why Mentoring Young African-American Boys Is Vital

August 12th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Mentoring is key to helping young men and women, especially young African-American boys, become successful adults, according to Vaughn L. McKoy, author of Playing Up: One Man’s Rise From Public Housing To Public Service Through Mentorship.

If you are a single mother it can be tough raising a young boy. Mentors can help ease the road, though it is not a miracle fix for a missing father. “Although having an involved father or ‘father figure’ may increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for boys, it does not guarantee it. I have seen boys with engaged and supportive dads end up in prison while those raised by single moms become successful professionals.  There are too many variables to make sweeping generalizations about who benefits from mentorship the most,” explains McKoy.  There are several organizations that single moms can connect their sons with mentors schools, colleges and universities, fraternities, faith-based organizations, The Boys and Girls Club, Big Brother, and local corporations or businesses to name a few.  Also consider other family members, neighbors, coaches and clergy, says McKoy.

Still mentor is a great opportunity for fatherless children to interact in a positive way with older males. “All boys need mentoring.  Having said that, there may be a greater need for boys from single mom households to have mentors that provide another voice and perspective other than a boy’s mom, which is often discounted or diminished over time,” offers McKoy. “Even the most loving and supportive parents rely on a network of resources to empower their children to maximize their potential. The presence of a mentor in a boy’s life should in no way suggest they are deficient or lacking in a negative way.”

playing upAfrican-American tween males are most at risk thus guidance is vital. “When boys are in the tween years, their peers have a major influence on the way they think and behave. Because they are similar in age and developmental stage, they are often immature and short-sighted in their thinking and analysis. As a result, peers for tween boys often have undue influence over their thought processes and decision making,” McKoy explains to us. “For this reason, mentors during the tween years are crucial. A mentor can balance the seemingly overwhelming influence of peers and help tween boys understand the short, medium and long-term consequences of their decisions.”

Mentors can provide various types of assistance.   “Mentors have the ability to share life experiences that peers simply do not have. Through modeling, sharing successes and failures, and providing practical steps to achieve success through good decision making, mentors can fill a role that peers cannot,” says McKoy.

Mentoring can also help keep young boys in school and even get them interested in higher education. “Many young boys do not strive to move beyond their current circumstances because they have not been exposed to varied career choices or have access to high achieving professionals within those careers,” McKoy points out. “Among its many benefits, mentoring provides young boys with a visual of success and exposes them to career choices and possibilities that were not previously considered. In addition, strong mentoring relationships provide mentees with the guidance and support necessary for them to complete higher education studies before entering the workforce full-time.”

All in all, there are so many uplifting aspects for young African-American boys to have mentor. “The purpose of mentorship is for the mentor to help the mentee to discover his purpose and grow to his maximum potential.  Sometimes no parent has the expertise, experience or resources to meet the specific need of a mentee — present or anticipated. Therefore, mentors can supplement different household types to support the development of boys through their well-rounded experiences,” says McKoy.

9 Ways Diversity Benefits Businesses

April 1st, 2013 - By Candace Smith
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Have you ever been in this situation? You go to work on your very first day, eager and mentally ready to finally conquer Excel. You get signed in by security and enter the elevator, maybe meeting a smiling face or two. You walk through the doors of your new job, greet the receptionist, get ushered in and quickly notice that mostly everyone around you is of the same racial or ethnic makeup.

It can be disheartening to work in a corporation that offers amazing benefits, but very little of diversity within. But we shouldn’t be too hard on HR; some businesses just may not understand the various ways in which diversity would truly benefit them beyond gaining Multicultural Excellence Awards for their advertising campaigns. Here are the top nine ways that diversity benefits businesses:

Key To Success? Do Businesswomen Need Male Mentors To Get Ahead?

October 29th, 2012 - By Ann Brown
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Women! Want to get ahead in business? Get a male mentor, say a group of success female entrepreneurs.

A panel made up of female entrepreneurs and investors spoke at the International Women’s Forum World Leadership Conference about how they found success in startups. “The women suggested that they didn’t get to where they are today by relying on other women for support or advice; men played an important role in their achievements,” reports

“Male mentors for women are critical. It has been critical for me,” said Mariam Naficy, founder of e-commerce sites and

According to, venture capitalist and Stanford professor Ann Muira-Ko, who is in a male-dominated industry, said she survived  by “learning from the men in her space. Whether it was in a computer science class or while working with startups in Silicon Valley, Muira-Ko says she made meaningful male connections (including working during college with then-HP CEO Lewis Platt) that helped her start angel investment firm FLOODGATE with male co-founder Mike Maples.”

Entrepreneurial and financial consultant Princess Clark-Wendel agrees.  She feels women better learn the way men operate in the workplace from being mentored by men in their industry. “Both men and women get things done in their own ways, however, the truth is we work and see things differently. We’re different, but we need each other to survive especially in business,” she told us in an online chat. “Women can certainly learn a few things from male mentors and not just the technical aspects of business. Women, in general multitask whereas most men are focused on the task at hand. In order to succeed in business women need both energies, especially now that the world of work has changed.”

Dr. Anita Davis-DeFoe, author president of The Afia Planning and Development Corporation, a management and development leadership firm, says she consistently advises businesswomen to team up with male mentors.

“I have male mentors and they have helped me enhance my skill sets and professional competencies tremendously. Interactions, coaching and encouragement from a male mentor can help a woman sharpen all of her skills, particularly in the areas of leadership effectiveness and negotiation, skills which are essential whether leading an organization or a business,” explains Davis-DeFoe.

One skill is negotiating. “Even when we know our goods and services are worth the asking price or more, we typically have difficulty negotiating for ourselves. Women tend to operate from a transformative perspective that is working tirelessly to engage everyone in changing things for the better; this can be both challenging and unnerving,” Davis-DeFoe told Madame Noire. “Culture eats strategy for lunch, so when women have the benefit of a male mentor, they learn how to better understand and navigate… tumultuous waters.”

It seems sometimes in business, you may need to think like a man. Any ladies out there have experience with a male mentor? Let us know.

Whose Star Shines Brighter? Mentors and Their Protegees

May 16th, 2012 - By madamenoire
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While it can be hard to imagine now, a lot of the musicians currently ripping down stages and burning up the Billboard charts, at one point, needed a helping hand getting into the recording industry. Everybody needs to start somewhere and luckily for these artists they were introduced and mentored by just the right person to set off their careers.

From mixtapes to million-dollar deals,check out this gallery of Superstar Musicians and the Larger Than Life Proteges at 

More on Madame Noire!

To Produce More Minority Lawyers, Program Focuses on Teenagers

July 5th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(AJC) — In a 12th-floor conference room of a Buckhead law firm the other day, a group of high school students took turns explaining the recent Supreme Court decision to block a class-action sex discrimination suit against giant retailer Walmart.  Girls dressed in modest skirts and blouses, the boys in shirts and ties, they easily looked the part. And their presentations were as reasoned and succinct as those of seasoned attorneys making opening arguments. Vesselina Kotzeva was poised and easily made eye contact with her audience. She managed even to make her case absent that singsong phrasing that is so common among teenage girls and that her young “colleagues” had become used to over the past week.

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Entrepreneurs Should Get a Mentor

January 27th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Businessweek) — If you belong to the 48 percent of entrepreneurs who don’t have a mentor, start looking now. Start simple by thinking about people you know who have been successful or by joining industry networks and your local Chamber of Commerce. During your search for a mentor, be sure to look for the following:  1. The right experience. Every successful person I know is happy to mentor others, myself included. But getting the attention of the right successful person for you can be a challenge. Identifying some common characteristics you share with your desired mentor can help move things in your favor. It can also be really helpful in building a stronger bond between the two of you and, more to the point, creating a willingness in the other person to offer mentorship guidance to you.

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Want to Find a Good Mentor? Be a Good Mentee!

January 14th, 2011 - By SisterToldja
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It’s difficult to make it in any field without the support and guidance of someone who is or has been where you are trying to go. While not every seasoned vet is interested in shaping their descendants, there are plenty of folks who understand the value of reaching back and helping a younger sister out.  Here are a few tips on how to select the right sage and to secure their assistance on your path:

A New Way to Meet a Mentor

December 21st, 2010 - By TheEditor
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(Entrepreneur) — Need a mentor? Want to be a mentor? is a free online service that connects small-business owners with volunteer business mentors run by Mercy Corps, a nonprofit humanitarian agency.  To find a mentor, go to the website, create a brief profile and a specific mentoring request. The request is then listed in the mentoring opportunity database, where volunteer mentors can offer to help (you can also request help from specific mentors). The site has more than 3,500 entrepreneurs and 2,600 business mentors enrolled, and it has made more than 2,250 matches. It also offers advice and information on mentoring relationships and how to make them most effective, as well as a number of success stories.

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