Empowering growth: The journey from mentee to mentor

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Mentors have had a profound impact on me throughout my career, leaving lasting impressions both personally and professionally. From my initial day as a professional joining the workforce at Schneider Electric, I was introduced to the significance of cultivating a network and forging connections through mentorship. This guidance has significantly contributed to enhancing my skills and propelling my career forward. 

When the Women in Schneider Electric (WiSE) employee resource network (ERN) announced they were looking for employee mentors to help refugee women seeking professional mentorship, I eagerly signed up. The program was a partnership with Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent) – a global network of more than 300 companies committed to creating economic opportunity for refugees.

I was inspired, reflecting on the mentors I learned from over the years. My passion for meeting new people, forging connections, and continuously learning, combined with the fulfillment derived from being a trusted advisor, further fueled my motivation to take on the role of a mentor. I find great joy in the opportunity to share knowledge and support others in their personal and professional growth. 

It was an honor to join a cohort of Schneider employees in this program. Fellow mentor Marq recently blogged about her experience “Empowering Refugee Women: The Impact of Mentorship”. By mentoring refugee women, we can help them develop skills, feel empowered, enhance their employability, and career opportunities, and build confidence and resilience. 

Serving as a mentor 

My experience serving as a mentor in the Tent Mentorship Program has been incredibly rewarding. To be honest I was nervous to embark upon this journey because I wanted to make as much impact as possible and building a relationship from scratch virtually has its challenges. As soon as I met with my mentee my nerves dissipated and I realized this was more like a partnership where we’d work together to tackle difficult concepts and navigate the uncertainties of the American workforce together.  

My mentee is from Ukraine and I have Ukrainian heritage – we covered many topics from food to our ancestors to the war. She is a phenomenal woman and I admire her strength, poise and positivity. Each meeting with her is a source of genuine enjoyment, as we successfully cultivate a foundation of trust and create a safe space for addressing fears, role-playing interview scenarios and enhancing professional skills through constructive feedback and guidance. 
 
One particularly touching moment was when my mentee requested my address to send a holiday card, leading to a heartfelt exchange of cards and the development of a strong, enduring relationship. Even beyond the duration of the program, our interactions persist, and I am committed to maintaining my role as an advocate for her growth and success. 
 
As I reflect on this experience, I realize the profound impact mentorship can have on both mentor and mentee. The opportunity to share knowledge, provide guidance, and witness personal and professional growth is immensely gratifying. I look forward to continuing my journey as a mentor knowing that the relationships formed, and the positive influence shared, will endure and contribute to a brighter future for all involved. 

Reflecting on my mentors 

My journey at Schneider Electric began as an intern at our call center in West Kingston, RI in 2013 thanks to my cousin raving about the company and helping me get my foot in the door (network is key!) Starting in the call center handling various customer needs, questions and frustrations was a surprise and certainly not where I envisioned my full-time career taking shape a year later.  
 
Back then, terms like ‘Uninterruptible Power Supply’ and ‘NEMA 5-15 plug’ were entirely unfamiliar to me. Little did I know, this marked the start of a diverse career path through sales, management, software, and customer success, ultimately leading me to my current role in talent acquisition. Each experience has been invaluable, and the incredible people and culture at Schneider Electric have been the driving forces keeping me here. 

I owe a great deal to the mentors who have guided me along the way, beginning with my manager during my internship. Their support has been instrumental in shaping my journey. I’ve come to understand that mentorship is what you make of it, and discovering the approachability of individuals at Schneider Electric has been pivotal. Embracing curiosity and not hesitating to ask questions has been a game-changer in addition to learning the importance of trusting my gut. I’m deeply grateful to the mentors who still lend me their insights and expertise. I’m also indebted to a former mentor who has now become my current boss – a testament to the unpredictable paths mentorship can lead us on! 

Living Schneider’s IMPACT values 

In February, Schneider Electric updated our values to “Impact starts with us”, and our IMPACT Values are Inclusion, Mastery, Purpose, Action, Curiosity, and Teamwork. Together, they form the new pillars of Schneider’s culture, uniting our vast workforce under shared principles. 
 
Serving as a mentor for female refugees has been deeply aligned with our IMPACT values, embodying inclusion, purpose, curiosity, and teamwork. Through this mentorship, I have found a profound sense of purpose in expanding the knowledge and opportunities of my mentee, while actively embracing inclusion to celebrate our differences and learn from each other. Curiosity has been at the forefront as I fostered a genuine friendship and asked questions, embracing uncertainty and working through challenges together. This experience has truly emphasized the value of teamwork as we collaboratively strive to overcome obstacles, ultimately reinforcing our commitment to living out our IMPACT values every day. 

My advice 

I wholeheartedly recommend becoming a mentor to anyone considering it. The experience of being a mentor has been one of the most inspiring and fulfilling journeys I’ve embarked on during my time at Schneider. Witnessing the profound impact my mentee has had on me has been truly humbling, leaving me feeling motivated and enlightened throughout the process. I genuinely hope that someday I’ll have the opportunity to meet my mentee in person. The rewards of mentorship are immeasurable, and I encourage others to embrace this magnificent opportunity without hesitation. 

*Sharing with her permission.* My mentee Ksenia has experience managing fast-paced sales teams & quality assurance and is open to work. Please refer to her profile: Ksenia Kovalchuk on LinkedIn if you know of a position that may be suitable to her skill set.

About the author

Author Profile

Hayley Bezubka, Talent Acquisition Manager

Hayley resides in East Greenwich, RI with her husband. Outside of her professional endeavors she finds joy in snowboarding, surfing, baking, reading, exploring the world through travel and spending quality time with her family and friends. 

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