4 Women On How Mentorship Impacted Their Lives

Mentors matter.

Workin’ Girl

Women of color receive less support in the workplace. According to the Harvard Business Review, it's one of the reasons why there's only 4% of women of color in the C-suite. The lack of support at work is the reason why mentorship is such a vital ingredient to our career success.


More and more women are stepping up to the plate to mentor the next generation. They're making mentorship a priority because paying it forward is a responsibility, and they want to break the mentality that you have to get to the top alone.

Here are four women who share how stepping into a role of mentorship has been one of their greatest rewards.

Manessa Lormejuste

Cosmetic Chemist at L'Oreal USA

Courtesy of Manessa Lormejuste

Why is mentorship important to you?

Mentorship is important to me because I recall being a young girl interested in STEM and not having a mentor to model myself after as I've grown older and realized that not only am I a thriving WOC but that my deep roots in STEM can allow me to be a resource for others. By extending my experiences and expertise to others, I can be that role model I didn't have growing up.

When and why did you first become a mentor?

I first became an official mentor in 2017 through the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in NYC. At that time, I was mentoring a group of four young women from NYC who were interested in STEM. I had just completed my undergraduate degree in Chemistry, and I was looking for a way to give back. Young women are often discouraged from seeking careers in the sciences since it is traditionally male-dominated. I wanted to be living proof that not only can women succeed in science but that I didn't have to change my femininity to do so. Since then, I have mentored at least five more young women at various steps in their development.

"By extending my experiences and expertise to others, I can be that role model I didn't have growing up."

What's been the biggest reward of mentoring?

The biggest reward of mentoring was that the relationship is mutually beneficial. My mentees were actively interested in engineering and technology. While that is not where my experience lies, they were able to teach me a wealth of knowledge about programming platforms that were integrated into their project. Being able to also learn from them was rewarding. One of my mentees went on to intern at NASA doing complex research. Another one of the young ladies I mentored started her college journey an MIT.

In my role at L'Oreal, when I get a chance to mentor the incoming interns, the biggest reward is seeing how they value my experience. I am an open book which allows us to have natural conversations about their growth and development. Seeing them thrive makes it all worthwhile.

How has mentoring changed your life?

Mentoring has changed my life as I have been able to connect with many young women who would not have known about a career such as mine. Mentoring has also allowed me to be more confident in myself and stick true to my beliefs. As I continue to pour into my mentees based on my own experiences, I realize that the life I have chosen to pursue was not a mistake, but what I was destined to do.

Nekasha Pratt

Director of Marketing, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Courtesy of Nekasha Pratt

Why is mentorship important to you?

Mentoring is important because everyone needs help and guidance as they move throughout their career. It goes back to the proverb "Each one, teach one" and the fact that we can all help each other be better.

When and why did you first become a mentor?

I became a "Big Sister" with Big Brothers Big Sisters almost four years ago. The organization was doing community outreach to attract new mentors, and once I learned the number of children waiting for mentors, I reached out to volunteer. I always wanted to get more involved locally, and I thought not only could I mentor a young woman, but she and I could volunteer in the community together. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

In addition to Big Brothers Big Sisters, I've also been a mentor with the tnAchieves program, which is Tennessee's scholarship program that connects mentors with high school students working towards earning a post-secondary credential. Additionally, I'm currently a business mentor with Pathway Women's Business Center, which helps business owners grow and expand their businesses. I've had a total of six mentees in the last four years.

How has mentoring changed your life?

I am a better person and leader because I'm a mentor. My listening and communication skills have improved, and my patience and empathy have increased. I enjoy helping others achieve their goals, so I also have an increased sense of personal pride from seeing a person I mentored succeed.

Carjie Scott

Higher Education Administrator

Courtesy of Carjie Scott

Why is mentorship important to you?

We all need relationships with people who hold us accountable, challenge us to do great things, and set the example on how to do it. My frame of mind is to help others realize that it doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, what society deems you to be, or the like. Instead, I want mentees to know their value, profit off their talents, and surround themselves with people who appreciate them. Therefore, I'm paying it forward with that mentality now. I know that this was something that I was born to do; so, every opportunity I get to help someone, I use it.

What did your mentee have that made you want to invest more time with her/him/they?

My mentee relationships are casual. I am a phone call or email away; when someone needs help, I assist them. I have found mentees through programs like TN Promise, a grant program for students interested in attending college for free in TN. I have also found mentees organically through my volunteer work throughout Nashville. I believe that it's up to the mentee to call me their mentor, but even without the title or the formal ask, I am here to help when I can. One thing I've learned is, when people ask you to be their mentor, no matter their age or perceived skill-set, you should help them. People have asked me to mentor them, and I immediately thought, "Why is she asking me? I should be asking them." Those have been my best relationships.

"One thing I've learned is, when people ask you to be their mentor, no matter their age or perceived skill-set, you should help them."

What's been the biggest reward of mentoring?

The biggest reward from mentoring is seeing mentees use the advice I gave and watching them grow and prosper. I also feel good about giving back to others. I recognize that it takes a village and I'm honored to have one. If it weren't for mentors being there for me, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

How has mentoring changed your life?

Mentoring has made me a better person, and I think it has made others better. It has increased my relationships with others and allowed me the chance to encourage others to do their very best. It makes me live a purpose-driven life because I know that people are looking up to me. I understand that I can't give the shirt off my back if I don't have a shirt on. So, it makes me take care of myself, so I can care for others.

Crystle Johnson

Sr. Consultant, Inclusion, Diversity & CSR at Electronic Arts

Courtesy of Crystle Johnson

Why is mentorship important to you?

Mentorship is important to me because we don't know what we don't know. Mentorship allows us to level up our knowledge in areas where we have gaps and opportunities to help us grow.

When and why did you first become a mentor?

I became a mentor because I wanted to be everything that I needed to other professionals who look like me. I struggled a lot at the start of my career because I didn't know how to ask for help and didn't have examples of what success could look like for me. For the last few years, I've set aside a few hours each week to listen and answer questions from women who reach out to me for career navigation advice. I've even started a podcast, Read My Lipstick, that highlights the stories of ordinary women of color who are doing extraordinary things every day.

What did your mentee have that made you want to invest more time with her/him/they?

My style of mentoring is organic. When mentoring others, there is one thing that I look for: humility. If you're willing to lay it all out there and ask for help, I'm here to help you break down the barriers that lie ahead.

How has mentoring changed your life?

Mentoring has given me a sense of purpose and accomplishment. We don't have to fly to the moon or cure cancer to be extraordinary. Through empowering, supporting, and sharing with those who need it -- we are extraordinary.

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