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Season 2, Episode 11: Transcript

Season 2, Episode 11 Transcript: Mentoring a Multi-Generational Workforce


Veanne Smith:     Hello and welcome to Atlanta Business Impact Radio we’re your hosts Veanne Smith and Sarah Lodado. We are excited to have you join us for another episode of season two where our theme focuses on growing careers and building businesses. Today we are going to talk more on mentoring and how it has become an essential in creating the ideal company culture and to cultivate engagement within the workplace. We are excited to welcome two experts on this topic. Nancy Wolk and Trish Jones from eMentorConnect.

Sarah Lodado:  I’m going to introduce a bit about Nancy. So as an avidly recognized and requested expert in the field of coaching and leadership development. Nancy draws in her diverse experience to provide her clients with effective mentoring solutions to enhance the three R’s critical to a company’s success. Recruitment, retention, and results. Her passion for linking the fundamentals of leadership to people development is a critical component of EMC’s success. As a cofounder she recognized a need for a mentoring platform that was both sustainable and kinetic. In addition to EMC she is an active board member of charities that positively impact our children and our future.

Veanne:           Trish spent decades as a lawyer, technology executive, and strategist at global corporations including Turner Broadcasting, CNN, and Coca Cola. Trish sees mentoring as a way to pay it forward in the work place and knows first-hand the value of effective mentoring as it played a pivotal role in her own professional development. Trish chose to join EMC as a principle in 2013 as it allowed her to bring her digital technology experience to EMC to create a best in class mentoring solution. A change agent at heart. Trish’s community efforts include causes addressing human rights, abused children, and increasing the number of women in computing. She is an advisor to start ups focusing on macro impact issues such as off the grid third world energy solutions and democratizing access to quality education.

Sarah:             Well let’s dive right in. Nancy, Trish welcome to Atlanta business impact radio.

Nancy:             Thank you we are glad to be here.

Who is eMentorConnect?

Sarah:             So happy to have you. So mentoring is the topic that every company I think is interested in right now. Can you tell us a little bit about your company eMentorConnect and exactly what it does and what type of content is on the platform?

Nancy:             Sure. Thank you. We at our very simplest are an enterprise mentoring platform that organizations use to effectively implement mentoring programs and so we like to think of ourselves as elegantly simple in terms of making what some companies find very hard to do manually.

Sarah:             Right.

Nancy:             Automated and simple. So our target market is any organization and we support programs ranging as few as 10 employees or associates up to 10,000. The one thing I will say is that we’re content agnostic.

Sarah:             Okay.                      

Nancy:             Meaning the content is driven by the client. So one of the best practices we’ve found in looking across client mentoring programs is mentoring programs succeed when there is just enough structure and a stated objective. Most times that’s correlated and in line to some content. It can be as robust or as simple as Kickstarter conversations or very detailed content that’s the pull through of an emerging leader program.

Sarah:             Got you. So is there specific content that the mentors use from the platform? Is it something that you sort of develop per client? What does that look like?

Trish:               Yeah so we absolutely do develop it per client. So the biggest point that I think we deliver on is that when we benchmark mentoring, what we heard is that people had a great first meeting but that second meeting they didn’t know what to talk about. So with our contact being specific to a corporate culture its linked to that culture until the mentors are talking about conversations that they would utilize in their day to day.

Sarah:             Right.

Trish:               So we both, our clients give us the content but we also develop the content. So we make it a very specific. As well as, within the platform particularly for the mentors we don’t just give them information to drive the exchanges between themselves and the mentees but we also provide them with the knowledge, with the guide. A crib notes if you will.

Sarah:             Right.

Trish:               So it puts the mentors in a great position of looking like a rock star with their mentees. 

Sarah:             Right that’s awesome. I was going to say giving someone content doesn’t necessarily ensure that they are going to deliver it efficiently, I guess, effectively. So that’s awesome.

Mentoring Baby Boomers, GenXer’s and Millennials – Together

Veanne:           Well, Nancy and Trish I think we are living in such a unique time right now in that we have three different generations in the work force. We’ve got the baby boomers, the genXer’s and the millennials. It’s been said that the baby boomers live for work. The genXer’s work to live, and that the millennials are just looking for that work/life balance. So with an estimated 85 to 90 million future workers and leaders in the millennial population they are going to dominate the workforce in the next 40 years. So I’m curious to explore. How do you get three very different types of people to want to work together specifically around this topic of mentoring? It sounds like a real challenge to me.

Trish:               Well, I’d say very carefully. Luckily we’ve thought of that and we actually specifically address that in the structure of our platform and so one of the differentiators of our platform is that we actually take the communication preferences of the individual into account. With millennials being digital natives they often have a very different style of communicating then say genXer’s or baby boomers. Part of our profile set up in pairing participants in a program includes the way they like to interact and communicate. So that’s one aspect of how we address the varying generations in the work force. The other thing we take into account right in counseling classes to structure their program is to think about how they leveraged the various different strengths of those respective generations.

So we see a lot of programs that ask for participants to be both mentors and mentees. For example, people widely recognize that millennials are great tech mentors. They are digital natives so anybody has a question they ask their millennial friends how do I solve this on my smart phone right? The baby boomers can benefit from that then right?

Nancy:             Exactly.

Trish:               It allows going both ways I guess.

Nancy:                 Yes, exactly and so likewise. Although each of these generations don’t always recognize it they have a lot to learn from each other. 

Sarah:             Right.

Nancy:             in terms of the way they communicate, they relate. What millennials often determine what they can learn from their more seasoned colleagues at an organization is travel knowledge, culture, how to build relationships, what’s the unspoken rules of the road. How do I relate to people in this organization? I know what the substance of my job is but how do I find my way around. So it ends up working out really well.

Trish:               That’s right I think the millennials would rather do everything without having to go to a person if possible right? Turn to the computer for everything. You know, going to the hotel. In my generation we want somebody to wait on us and we want to go seek out the help of a person. They want to go find the answer in the computer right?

Nancy:             Exactly.

Trish:               They want to call their car up by using a computer and not going to the front bell boy or whatever right?

Nancy:             Yes, exactly.

Trish:               Yeah.

Veanne:           Yeah you know one of the fascinating “Ah-ha’s” has been we sometimes, I think, because the millennials have been such a unique generation we definitely stereotype. I’ve been guilty of it myself. One of the biggest learning’s with one of our clients was that the assumption was that it would be the baby boomers with all their experience to take that gray matter between their ears to teach the millennials. In fact, what was fascinating was the millennials were teaching the baby boomers. It was actually the converse because they were approaching it differently. It wasn’t even so much with technology just taking a different approach and actually having a high degree of success.

Nancy:             I agree with that where I am. I am always looking for fresh ideas. We get really habitual in terms of doing the same things the same way we have been doing them all along. So I am always looking to younger people to help rejuvenate my way of thinking a little bit and I’ve always walked away thinking oh why can’t I come up with those fresh ideas.

Sarah:             Yeah I have some friends that are instructors and they always tell me that they learn more from their students than they thought they would have even going into it because they know how to break things differently.

Nancy:             Yeah.

Trish:               Yes.

Keeping Multiple Generations Engaged

Sarah:             So to keep these multiple generations engaged how does technology come into play for these mentorship programs? How does it make it more effective?

Nancy:             Well one of the things that we find helpful in addition to letting people state their communications preferences is we align the function of the algorithm in our platform to each client’s specific needs. Often times when they are running a multigenerational program they will take those communication preferences into account in pairing people. So if I’m a person regardless of my generation who really doesn’t like to chat right? Or video conference. My potential partner is a millennial who only wants to communicate that way it’s not really optimizing the probability of success if you pair those people. So that’s one way I think the platform in structuring the program from the outside to take those communication differences into account comes into play.

I think the other thing we find is when a company is grappling with the structure of the program. That’s always aligned to how they are using mentoring in their organization. It could be as simple as they are automating an existing manual program and they are finding by automating it, it’s much more efficient. Or it could be as detailed as they are running a mentoring program to prepare the next level of senior leaders within the company for succession. Right? That’s a really different program. What they take into account and what the technology helps them take into account in terms of those pairings are the capabilities each has for pairing with the other. Part of what the platform can do is help people declare those strengths and developmental needs and we see all generations right?

Respond really well to the ability to choose or to declare. One of the pieces of readily available data is that we did a lot of research before we founded EMC and what it tells you is that mentoring programs fail for lack of enough structure in motivation. Part of that is that people didn’t feel like they had a choice.

Sarah:             Right.

Nancy:             So letting them choose really empowers them and makes them feel engaged regardless of generation.

Sarah:             Yeah I think that’s important especially in something as sort of delicate as learning as an adult. People are probably pretty stand offish about that anyway.

Veanne:           Yeah and you know it’s interesting because people have said in the past that they were thrilled about being a part of the mentoring program but when they got their mentor they thought oh this wasn’t perhaps the person I would have chosen.

Sarah:             Right.

Veanne:           So that’s part of the choice.

Sarah:             That’s a huge part of it.

Trish:               Yeah the other thing is that people have a day job. So in many cases and organizations this is an add on. So within the system, where technology helps, is we have drip communications that go out to the participants. So for example if you’re in a large organization, let’s say you have a conference coming up. The system can automatically send out an email reminding you hey your mentors going to be there a great time to sit down with them.

Sarah:             I love that. That’s so cool.

Using Technology in Mentoring

Veanne:           It sounds like the technology is really part of the secret sauce of what you all are doing so it sounds like you had to do a lot of research before you actually implemented this.  Is this like years of research and effort? I mean how long did it take for you all to come up with the technology side of what you do?

Nancy:             Well it was, the company was started five years ago by myself and one of the other partners Sophia Muriel. Where it came from literally was doing leadership development and it didn’t matter the industry somebody would raise their hand and say we need a mentoring program. I say being where I am now with my experience 30 year in industry my question was mentoring has been around since [Phonetic][13:10] homers of dissias. Why can’t we get it right? Why do people keep raising their hand and you would look at the corporate sponsor and they really didn’t know what to do. So it was. It was a lot of time spent saying if mentoring has been around this long why has it failed.

Veanne:           So you really decided to look at that and figure out if you could come up with an answer.

Nancy:             Right it, you know, you get hit over the head enough times with something you start paying attention.

Veanne:           That’s good I like that. That’s good. Well, I’d love to, I always like stories and I’m sure you have many of these but do you have a particular one or two stories of, you know, some real success that you’ve seen that’s been really rewarding for you and keeps you going and doing this? Anything you’d like to share?

Nancy:             Yeah you know it’s interesting because we look at it from two perspectives and one is the participant success right? Then our sponsors success. So ill speak to the participants. The data, one of the great things about technology again is that we actually have surveys built into the technology. So we find out where were the individuals. Where were the mentees at base line and have they grown around these subjects that they are talking about? So we have actually seen growths and competencies where their base line is less than ten percent and by the end of a program they are over 95 percent.

Sarah:             Wow.

Veanne:           Wow.

Nancy:             Yeah. This is them just answering the questions.

Trish:               I’ll take the sponsor perspective. The sponsors are typically interfaced in the client who’s hired us to run, to set up the program for them and automate it. From their perspective we hear consistently. The impediment for years in our company. Creating a mentor program or scaling the mentoring program was. Manual mentoring programs take so much time and energy. What your platform has enabled us to do is automate that and make this wonderfully simple. It saves everyone time and not only can we run the programs that we might have already been running but we can scale them and we can expand the programs because your platform does the five things that are essential to successful mentoring program. It matches people.

It manages the program. It motivates people through the communication stream. It measures the impact of the program and all in one wonderfully automated management.

Veanne:           Patched up place.

Trish:               Yes, exactly.

Veanne:           Just make it easy.

Trish:                   Exactly.

Veanne:           Yeah. Very nice. Very nice. Thanks so much for that. Thanks for sharing those stories with us.

Change Can Be Hard

Sarah:             Yeah. So I have a question. So something that’s sort of been top of mind for me is that change is hard. Especially as we see organizations embracing things like a mentoring program or a professional development program or something like that. It’s hard for some folks. So I’m curious to know is that something that you all get involved with. When you are talking about like a sponsored company having their team embrace that change or participation in something like this.

Nancy:             Yeah that’s a really important questions because I think any time you add something new or put something on people’s plates today they are already being asked to do too much in many cases.

Sarah:             Right.

Nancy:             So people always say people aren’t going to change unless the benefit outweighs the risk. What we’ve found with our platform is when we link it to another objective that the success grows exponentially. So in most cases where we are most successful is when you’re talking about an individual’s career development. People listen.

Sarah:             I should hope so.

Nancy:             Yeah so if we can relate to people on that level. That’s where they engage and they want to be involved and they see that it’s about them.

Sarah:             Right.

Nancy:             It’s the radio station right? WIIFM what’s in it for me? We all like to listen to that.

Sarah:             I’ve never heard that.

Veanne:           That’s great.

Sarah:             That is a radio station.

Veanne:           I think I’m going to start one now. It’s my next thing.

Sarah:             Coming to your radio soon.

Veanne:           Coming to you soon.

Sarah:             Okay. So when you say objectives. More concretely do you mean are these typically tied to like a promotion cycle? Is it just for everybody? Or do you mean just sort of getting behind the story of this is to better you?

Nancy:             It’s interesting because we have a broad application if you will among our clients of the way they use a platform and the reason they use it. In terms of mentoring. IT could be as simple as they want to automate an existing high level voluntary mentoring program where people sign up and they are paired based on criteria. It could also be that they want to use the mentoring program to pair people for leadership training and development pull through. In that circumstance the objective is very clearly aligned to the content for leadership training and development right? In other instances, a company might hire us to help them integrate new employees when they’ve done an acquisition because they want to accelerate the newly acquired company’s employees understanding of the new culture.

Sarah:             Right.

Nancy:             So when we say objective what we mean is what’s the purpose for which you are going to run a program. Let us help you align the system structure, the matching criteria to that program and the content that you’ll deliver within the program to that program to ensure success for you the company is the ultimate stake holder but for every participant who’s going to be impacted by the program.

Millennials Want Mentoring

Sarah:             Right. That makes sense. I love that. It’s helpful for me, I’ll be honest with you as my role at Sole Tech. In my role at Sole Tech one of the big things that I’m focused on is our engagement with our employees and I oversee our talent team and I know hearing first hand from our recruiters one of the big things that a lot of folks ask and I’m going to admit here you guys. I think I’m a millennial.

Veanne:           One of the things I love about you Sarah.

Sarah:             Its real hard not to admit it.

Veanne:           You’re my biggest person I’m mentoring from right now. True confession. Your teaching me something every day.

Sarah:             That goes completely both ways but okay. I got it out there. I’m a millennial right. So I guess my point in that is I think, so millennials they want to continue their education. They want to be nurtured. That’s something that you hear a lot. I think it’s not, I don’t believe it’s an I want to be nurtured because I need to get there right? It’s because it’s this very active need to grow which I think is awesome. That’s the type of employee I want right? So anyway a huge question that we get asked all the time and I have in other endeavors is, is there mentorship here? How are you going to help grow your employees? I think that, that’s huge and a very difficult question to ask any company of any size right? It’s like oh gosh how do I even start this?

So anyway how can companies be better about offering that? Is EMC the right thing for every company? Are there other ways that they can kind of get their feet wet in mentoring programs?

Nancy:             Yeah so it’s a great question because actually there is data out there and it goes from 60 percent to 75 percent and millennials will actually choose a company if it has a mentoring program. Right?

Sarah:             Yeah.

Nancy:             So right off the bat. Some companies will put it on their website if they have it. So millennials will actually of course it’s on the web. It’s on the web so they –

Sarah:             Right. What a bunch of sucker’s man. They knew exactly how to get them.

Nancy:             So as far as companies taking different approaches. There is the joke that millennials are used to their helicopter moms right? So that’s why coming into an organization your mentor can take the place of your helicopter mom.

Sarah:             Sure.

Veanne:           They miss mom so much they want to have a helicopter mom at work.

Nancy:             Exactly.

Veanne:           I’m like that too. Love these nuggets I get. These are great.

Nancy:             You may edit this but actually there has been situation where millennials their mother has come into a performance review.

Sarah:             No way.

Nancy:             Yes.

Sarah:             My mom’s my biggest fan man. She could not be critical at this point. Ten years ago I would be afraid.

Veanne:           Much more supportive after you get out of the house.

Sarah:             Exactly.

Veanne:           Your perfect right after you hit 19, 20.

Sarah:             Exactly.

Nancy:             So I mean companies can actually use it as a branding mechanism.

Sarah:             Absolutely. I absolutely believe that.

Nancy:             Yeah so. It’s going to give, when you think about the pool of candidates. They say there is a lot of data out of CEB right now showing that the candidate pool and the competitiveness is going to grow. As you all probably know better than anybody over the next few years.

Veanne:           Yeah we are way into that problem already.

Sarah:             Yeah.

Nancy:             So if you think about if there is something that’s going to put you ahead.

Sarah:             Worthy investment for sure. So do you have like a sort of tagging onto that. What if I’m a business owner that hears this buzz word of mentorship and I’m like okay I’m supposed to be giving this to my employees. Do you have options? Do you consult with them? Like what if I don’t know what I want when I give my employees what’s right for them?

Trish:               Absolutely. So we work with every client. We have a curated intake process where we work with them to understand what their objective is for starting the program. Then we tease out of them right?

Sarah:             Right.

Trish:               What do you hope to get out of it? What’s your objective? How’s it going to impact your employees? What do you want out of it as an employer? Right? You want deeper engagement. You want to prepare your next generation of leaders. Do you want us to end up a program that helps diversity teams connect? What is your objective? So we spend time with them because our research has found if you align the program to the company’s desire and objective. It’s going to come through not only for the company in terms of return but for their employees.

Sarah:             Right.

Trish:               So people crave just enough structure and purpose in a program to optimize their probability of success as a participant in the companies so it’s really different for every company but we spend time to help them if you will.

Sarah:             Right.

Trish:               Discover that.

Sarah:             That’s awesome.

Can Mentoring Increase ROI?

Veanne:           Right. So we’ve talked about how investing in your employees is important. We’ve talked about how people really want to be cared for. Now we’ve talked about getting the returns. Let get on to the return. How do the companies justify the expense of the mentoring program and where do you go to see the ROI?

Trish:               Sure. So a couple different things. There’s some great data out there. So for example the question becomes when an individual leaves an organization. What’s the cost to the organization? Right? So the time at which a person disengages, to when they leave and somebody is hired and you are back up to the same level again is 36 months. So you can pick an average salary and multiply it by three.

Sarah:             Wow.

Trish:               Right? Annually. I can tell you that the program has more than paid for itself in the first year. So that’s just one figure so I throw that out there because that’s about engagement. That’s about retention.

Sarah:             Yep.

Trish:               That’s about reducing your turnover. There’s data from the association of trainers and developers that shows that 77 percent of companies report that mentoring is effective in increasing employee’s engagement and increasing retention. Of course that’s with your high potential performers that you want it with.

Sarah:             Of course.

Trish:               So that piece of a simple ROI from the investment. For the companies themselves. Our platform delivers both qualitative and quantitative ROI. So based on how we design the platform for each client drives the quantitative data. So by that I mean if you want to know in your organization are the women asking for male mentors? Are they asking for female mentors? What are the functional groups that are matching across? So any type of quantitative data that you are interested in as an organization.

Veanne:           You can get it measured.

Trish:               It delivers it. Right. Then the surveys that we include. So there’s a simple tab where surveys are imbedded. Again we link the survey questions to the program objectives. So the data that you get is specific. So when you are walking down the hall and your boss says “Hey how’s that mentoring program going?” Instead of shrugging your shoulders you can actually give them a real.

Veanne:           You can give them the portal.

Sarah:             Yeah.

Veanne:           Say go to this portal and see for yourself.

Sarah:             Yeah.

Trish:               Absolutely so its data like 90 percent of the participants say that this is increasing their engagement, this has improved their opportunities for a career. As well as, specific verbatim comments. Those are important because they tell us if we want to tweak the system to make it even better.

Sarah:             Right.

Trish:               So that’s one of our sustainable pieces.

Nancy:             To bring that to life in a recent client program that we sell the data on. The objective of the program was to ready emerging leaders for positions in different divisions of the company. So these were high potentials. They came to the program selected because of their performance today but they had a great knowledge of their business unit. This was obviously a big company. They had very little knowledge of the other business units of the company so in the baseline survey their responses were less than ten percent had knowledge of the other divisions of the company. By the time they left the program over 90 percent of them understood the company’s business model and how each business unit contributed to that business model. So that’s real return for a company whose investing in its next generation of talent and trying to prepare them with a more holistic view of company performance.

Sarah:             Right so is that knowledge and not just your opinion but your professional expertise and experience. Is that knowledge in fact power? Does that get them into those leadership positions? Has that turned into that?

Nancy:             You know it is because that knowledge translates to networking. So what we see is that with that information individuals know more about what’s going on in the organization. So if I’m a high performer and there is an opportunity across the organization that previously I wouldn’t have known anything about. I am now a high performer who may be promoted and therefore again my retention number goes up, my engagement goes up.

Sarah:             Right.

Nancy:             SO there is true ROI associated with it.

Sarah:             That’s awesome.

Veanne:           So wave talked about keeping track of the data and how leaders in the organization can now see the impact. Let’s talk about it in the individual level. Those that are being mentored. So is there anything built into your system that tracks their own progress? Are there benchmarks to see how they are doing against the best people that are progressing fastest in the organization? Is there testing? You know how do you track individuals progress based on the mentoring program? If any way? Is that possible?

Nancy:             Well it is possible and we actually do it for several clients who are running. So when we think about content in our programs we think of a continuum. Right? From informal programs which have Kick starter conversations which are wrapping a light structure around a program to highly structured programs where content is the center piece of the program and the organization is really trying to impart knowledge and ready individuals for a new role or a promotion. Right? In that instance and in one example I’ll give you is we have a program where, and this program runs over the course of a year, an individual is paired with four different mentors. From four different business units within that organization. Those mentors provide feedback against criteria for that mentees development. So that mentee at the end of the program, and that mentees manager, and the program sponsor get a report that collates the feedback from four senior leaders within that organization outside of that mentees business unit. They have gotten an accelerated basically development plan.

Sarah:             That’s awesome.

Nancy:             Right? They have gotten the benefit of essentially wrapping business school knowledge with real work experience overplayed with their own company culture.

Veanne:           From different perspectives it seems so valuable.

Trish:               Yeah so its immensely valuable for that organization and for the individual who comes away from that with really a rich perspective from four people who are respected. Who they build a personal relationship with. Who they are not importantly in a reporting relationship with. So they have a road map for their growth and development.

Veanne:           That sounds almost like going to an MBA program.

Trish:               It is very much like that.

Veanne:           All within the confines of the organization.

Trish:               Mmhm.

Veanne:           That’s awesome.

Sarah:             Yeah.

Nancy:             What’s nice about the platform too is that it gives you options. So in an organization you may have a program like Trish has just described going on. At the same time, you may have another program in which the interchange between the mentors and mentees is completely anonymous and is not shared. Then at the same time you may actually have some mentoring circles going on within the organization.

Sarah:             Right.

Nancy:             So you have a lot of different choices. It again ties to what your objective is and what’s best for the group of individuals.

Veanne:           Very cool.

Sarah:             Very cool. Can you all do this for my friendship circle? I need more friends. I’m just kidding.

Picking a Public Figure as a Mentor

Sarah:           All right I’m going to throw a little fun wrench in here. So you’ve built a business around mentoring right? So I’m curious to know from a public figure to your professional network. If you could pick anyone to be your mentor who would it be?

Trish:               I would pick Catherine Hepburn.

Sarah:             Oh nice.

Trish:               For her grit and her grace. So obviously she was a world class at her craft. She was renowned for her work ethic and she was also renowned for being a non-conformist. She did not, you know, bend and sway to the demands of society and what they expected of her or how they defined happiness or success. She had her own vision of that and she followed it with great passion and so I would choose her. I would try to tease out of her how she was so stalwartly confident because one of the things Nancy and I see in our work, especially when we are working with women’s programs, is the need to instill confidence in women, in business, and especially young women. So I would love to pick her brain on how we could empower them more.

Sarah:             That’s so cool.

Veanne:           Love the opportunity to meet with her.

Trish:               Oh yes I would love that. Yeah.

Veanne:           I always think it’s hard to pick just one. I’m going to butt in here while I give Nancy some time to think about hers.

Nancy:             Jeez.

Veanne:           I always think it’s hard to pick one but I like to pick people that I know personally. Truly Sarah I am learning so much from you. I was really serious when I said before you know you are teaching me so much. So today you are one of my mentors day to day in here at SOLTECHs. So I appreciate and thank you for that.

Sarah:             No. You are going to make me cry.

Veanne:           So I a going to relate it to podcasting here as I have to pick all these people I’d love to meet one day but kind of secretly why am I doing podcasting? I think we all, hopefully, are doing what we love. Then there are things that you think if “Wow if I was really good what would I really want to do?” I always wanted to be a news anchor and so I think there are so many women pioneers that we have seen here in the last 20 years that are just amazing in front of the TV every day. You know you look at Barbara walters. You look at Veanne Sawyer. You look at Robert Robertson. I watch them on TV and I’m like they are just so impressive to me. They are so brave you know and the interesting people that they get to meet. How are they so knowledgeable on all these topics. Secretly I would love to be any one of them and I would love to interview and I would love to have them on my show.

Sarah:             Yeah. All right a new goal.

Veanne:              Kate can you run that up? [laughter]

Sarah:             We are going to get them. I love that. That strong powerful women that’s important. What about you? You have one yet?

Nancy:             You know yeah. It’s an interesting question. I think somebody that’s resonated with me is Katherine Graham. It’s interesting because she did come from a background of privilege so that’s one piece but she didn’t rest on her larels and I think that’s what I admire the most. Then the other pieces that. She was the first woman to run an organization like the Washington Post. The other piece of that is that again she could of just sat back but she had a lot of adversity but she always focused on gender equality.

Sarah:             Mmhm.

Nancy:             She took it forward in her organization and she was a real voice and activist for it.

Sarah:             Oh that’s awesome.

Veanne:           All right Sarah.

Sarah:             I had some time to think about mine. I’m amazed that all of ours are women which is awesome.

Veanne:           I know I was just thinking that too.

Sarah:             We didn’t plan that.

Veanne:           No we didn’t.

Sarah:             So mine is a little funky which I think is appropriate for if you know me.

Veanne:           That is appropriate.

Sarah:             We all get to know me. One of my favorite people has always been a comedian her name is Amy Sedaris. She comes from, so there are a few reasons. You might know her from the 1990’s show Strangers with Candy. Very weird potentially offensive to some people. She is just one of those, oh man, she just lives in her own skin. I just think it’s so awesome. She is really sassy and she comes from extremely humble beginnings. An immigrant Greek family and her brother. I’m not sure if you all are familiar with David Sedaris. A writer.

Veanne:           Phenomenal.

Sarah:             A lot of their comedy comes from reality and I think that is kind of a perspective that I like to take. I find happiness in my surroundings and I think they have done a really good job of doing that. She is a comedian first. She became a crafter. I used to be in the craft industry and making is a huge part of my life but always with comedy. She is like a total weirdo. Very bizarre. It’s not like your normal standup comedian that focuses on the controversial things or anything like that. She just lives in her own world. She is just like making fun of hot dogs on rakes and weird things. She is a business woman now and she has written books and she has got her own fabric lines and things like that. So I just want to, I hope that I grow up to be as weird as her. Yeah.

Veanne:           Well thanks everyone for being so vulnerable. We should be doing hash tags to all these people that are mentoring us that they have no idea right? So hopefully they are listening.

Sarah:             I am sure they are.

Veanne:           Well so let’s get back to some self-promotion. So Nancy and Trish how can people reach out to you personally? How can they learn about eMentorConnect? GO ahead and do some shameless self-promotion here.

Nancy:             Absolutely so we certainly have a website www.ementorconnect so all three the letter E the word mentor and connect all together. Or you can email us at and if you would like to reach out directly to Trish or myself our emails are simple. Our first names Nancy or We would like to hear from you.

Veanne:           Awesome that makes it easy.

Trish:               Yes, we would. We would love to hear from you and we would love to help you bring mentoring to your organization.

Veanne:           Very good. Thank you so much. Well it’s been a real treat having you. It’s been fun being a little bit raw and truly enjoyed the conversations we’ve had here so thanks for joining us at Atlanta Business Impact Radio today.

Sarah:             Thank you ladies.


Announcer:      The Atlanta Business Impact Radio is a project developed by Sole Tech a software consultancy located in Atlanta Georgia. Our host Veanne cofounded the firm 18 years ago with her husband Tim Smith. Together they strive to bring education to the community about technology leaders to improve the path innovation for all. For more information about the podcasts and learn about the work we do at Sole Tech visit or find episodes of the podcast on iTunes. Also if you’re interested in joining us as a guest for an upcoming show send us an email at Thanks for listening. Stay tuned for more insight in the tech community on our next episode.


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