Want to Find a Good Mentor? Be a Good Mentee!
1) Select Wisely: You may adore your fabulous and fancy neighbor and want to be just like her when you ‘grow up’; but if she’s a lawyer and you’re a dental student…she might not be able to help you out so much as the less glam sister who has had a successful dental office in your ‘hood for 10 years. Make sure that your desired mentor has worked in or around your field closely enough to be able to provide useful advise. Also, select someone who is secure with his or her position at work and won’t shut you down for fear that you are coming for their spot. While some folks relish the opportunity to help a younger person out, the presence of a sharp ingenue creates for some the fear being replaced or eventually put out to pasture.
If you can, select a mentor who may share things in common with you that compels them to help you out: a shared alma mater, hometown, volunteer organization, etc. Your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be black or even female. There are certainly advantages to selecting a mentor who is similar demographically, but don’t pass up on a good mentor for the wrong reasons.