Posted in: mentoring, networking, career advice
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As an intern for the Center for Women in Business, I have spent the last 10 weeks researching the statistics about women in business—from owning our own small businesses to the resources available to military spouses—and reading stories about the many extremely talented women have started their own businesses, moved up the ranks at their respective companies, and changed the business world for women. Given that internships are opportunities to learn, I have shared some of the key lessons I have learned during my time with CWB:
Even if you just catch up over coffee once every few weeks, being a mentor is an extremely rewarding experience for both you and your mentee. In so many of the articles and blog posts about women in business, it is noted that women want to help others and guide them. We understand the value of encouragement and know how helpful it can be to discuss our goals and pitfalls with another person. In my short time with CWB, I have found so many enthusiastic and knowledgeable women attending our events and following us on social media who are willing to volunteer their time in order to guide another up-and-coming businesswoman—even if they have never met before!
“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet”
This may seem like something a naïve 22-year-old would say, but, in the business world, having this mindset can help you make connections you otherwise wouldn’t have. One of the easiest ways to make a business connection is to attend group meetings. Whether you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, or an organization specific to your business, attending meetings, mixers, and lectures—with a few business cards, of course—can allow you to meet new people that may be able to help you out in the future. The best thing to remember is to keep an open mind, always wear a smile, and maintain contact with the people you meet.
If you’re feeling uninspired…
Just search for a blog online! A great part of my internship has been researching and reading up on women in business and posting their stories on our Facebook page. From personal experience, I can confidently say that reading articles on websites like ForbesWoman or The Daily Muse (among many, many others) gives me a surge of confidence after each and every read. Reading about how a mother of two started her own business from home and it’s now worth over $20 million, or how successful some very talented students have been in starting their own businesses while still in college can inspire you! Everyone has a story to tell, so read others’ and then write your own!
These are only a few of the many things I have learned while interning with the CWB. Having had this extraordinary opportunity to network in person and online with women from all across the country who have started their own businesses and made names for themselves in the business world gives me great hope for the future.