A Mentor is often defined as an experienced or trusted advisor. But for anyone who has been a mentee, this definition seems to fall short. A true mentor often wears several hats. She may be a teacher, encourager, or even a friend. We spoke to several JLT members, who met their mentors in the League, to better understand the impact a mentor can have.
Mentors teach us how to be better versions of ourselves. This is true for Lauren Sanchez and her mentor Lindsay Carter. When Lauren, transferred into The Junior League of Tampa she took a leap and joined a leadership role. As a social media coordinator for the JLT Marketplace team she met Lindsay who took the time to help Lauren build her skills. “From day one, she took me under her wings and showed me the ropes. Always kind and with a smile, she helped me become a better leader and become more involved in the League.” Lindsay’s support helped prepare Lauren to take on the Chair-Elect role the following year. The role was unexpected for Lauren but ultimately served as an ideal fit, harnessing her retail experience and her growing leadership skills. Lauren sums it up perfectly, “She pushed me in the best ways to strive for my better self and go for things out of my comfort zone.”
A great mentor is an ever-flowing source of encouragement. This is the foundation of Jenny Schroeder’s relationship with her mentor Melissa Knight Nodhturft. When Jenny transferred to the JLT from Michigan, Melissa was the first person she met. “Melissa was so warm and welcoming through our emails and then in person when I joined JLT,” says Jenny. Then serving on the Executive Board, Melissa encouraged Jenny as she started her leadership journey in the League. She shared her experience as well as helped Jenny build confidence to take on roles as a Chair, Manager, and Board Member. “Melissa is the kind of person who encourages you to be your best self and believe that you can do things that may be outside your comfort zone at first,” says Jenny, “I always look forward to our annual chats at nominating submission time and Melissa’s input on what to try next.”
Not every mentor is a friend, but often the best relationships go beyond mentorship. This is the case Lyndsey Siara and for her mentor and dear friend, Caroline Foss. After almost 10 years in The Junior League of Tampa, Lyndsey joined the inaugural Diaper Bank committee and met Caroline. “Meeting Caroline and working on Diaper Bank was a pivotal moment in my JLT and personal lives,” says Lyndsey. Rather than standing alone to build the project, Caroline made Lyndsey a partner. Caroline shared her knowledge with Lyndsey but also relied on Lyndsey for her insights to help build the Diaper Bank to the thriving program it is today. “We’ve achieved much together,” says Lyndsey, “but the best part is knowing our connection—and friendship—transcends JLT. I’m forever grateful that the League guided me to her.”
With over 1,800 members across the Tampa area, JLT is often a connector for many mentorships. But it is the dedication and openness of members like Lindsay, Melissa, and Caroline who foster mentorships that matter.