Browsing Tag:

role model

  • Articles

    The Value of Having a Mentor

    The Value of Having a Mentor

    Guest post by Mandy Schwarting, Regional Director, Alabama Operations, Spire Energy

    I never understood the need for a mentor until I actually needed one. 

    Someone a lot wiser than I unofficially appointed a mentor for me, early in my tenure at my company.  We met for coffee and lunch on a regular basis and she listened as I talked about work, challenges with coworkers and topics that probably bored her to death.  But she never complained or criticized me. She allowed me to make some mistakes and grow as I gained some maturity over the years.  I asked her advice about different career moves in the company and she gave her opinions when they were helpful but always left the decisions up to me.

    One day a trusted colleague came to me with some news that another coworker was telling people within the company that I couldn’t be trusted.  All over a work-related decision that my boss – not I – made.  I was shocked, embarrassed and disappointed.  I thought I had left behind middle school gossip years ago. 

    My mentor and I had lunch soon after and I told her about the situation.  I felt so much better just being able to talk to someone who knew all the people involved but who wouldn’t judge me for being upset over something I couldn’t control. 

    A few weeks went by and I did my best to lay low, trying to move past the situation, all while having to work in the same building with this person.  In a planning meeting with an executive in the company, we finished discussing the subject matter at hand and when we were about to adjourn the meeting, he looked at me and said, “I know what’s going on.”  A little confused, I sat there and wondered what he was talking about.  He went on to tell me that he was aware of the situation I was in and that the president of the company was also aware and was addressing it.

    I left the meeting feeling relieved but a little conflicted.  I didn’t want to know that I needed others to fight my battles for me, but I also didn’t know how to fight this battle.

    My mentor had discreetly elevated the issue, knowing this more established coworker would not respect criticism from anyone other than his superiors.  My integrity had been questioned and she was wise enough to know that the circumstances had to be halted before it got out of hand.  I thought I would be viewed as a snitch if I had raised the issue, and maybe I would have. But having someone in the company who was respected for her demeanor, knowledge and experience help me fight the battle was more effective.  I never asked for her help, only for her advice on how best to handle.  But she knew best.

    I never received an apology from the coworker, nor did I expect one.  I have always felt that I handled myself with grace, never stooping to the level of spreading rumors or gossiping about the individual.

    Because of the positive experience with my mentor, I do my best to “unofficially” mentor others at work.  They may not know it now, and that’s perfectly fine, but someday they’ll figure it out.

  • Shero, Sheroes, TRENDING, Video

    Check Out Our SherOCTOBER Sheros!

    GirlSpring is seeking extraordinary girls (13-18) to be featured in our Sheroctober video series! 31 videos of sheroes will be selected and displayed on our website and social media throughout the month of October. This is your chance to shine! Build up your digital portfolio and let others know what you are doing that is special! All participants will be part of a compilation video celebrating girls in Birmingham!

    A shero is someone extraordinary and is in general making the world a better place! This could be someone who has started a community initiative, shown academic achievement, overcome adversity, is enhancing the wellbeing of others or using their artistic talents to be a positive change agent in this world. The possibilities are endless!

    Shero Criteria:

    • Girls ages 13-18 years old
    • Nomination from a non-relative
    • Access to an electronic device with video and audio features
    • A standout reason for her sheroism

    How to Submit:

    • Create a video clip (2 minutes max) acknowledging that you (can be more than one person) has been recognized as a shero, addressing what you do that makes you a shero, explain why we need sheroes in the world, and if you have any heroes in your life.
    • Videos should be interview-style, but feel free to be creative with background music and any other artistic and fun elements! MAKE IT FUN!
    • If using a cell phone, please turn horizontally when filming.
    • Upload videos to youtube, vimeo, or dropbox and include public link on the application form.
    • In addition to the Shero video, all submissions must include a second, separate video clip with the following phrase “My name is __________. I am a shero. We are Birmingham.”
    • Submit a nomination form and link to videos by September 28th to be considered.

    Nominees will be notified by October 1st if their video is going to be featured.

    Questions? Email [email protected]

  • Photography, Woman's History

    Alabama’s Finest Female: Autherine Lucy Foster

    Autherine Lucy Foster was the first black student to be admitted to an all-white public school or university in the entire state of Alabama. Foster was recently honored by The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on September 17, 2017. The university asked Autherine Lucy to speak about her experiences, and the enormous obstacles she has overcome to get to where she is today. She was then presented with a campus landmark dedicated in her name, on The University of Alabama’s Graves’ lawn. Foster’s actions and determination to actively make change in a prejudiced society have paved the way of civil equality today.
    Foster’s success has become an inspiration to many African-Americans worldwide. Autherine Lucy Foster who is currently 87, attempted to enroll at The University of Alabama in 1952. She was originally accepted, until admissions found out that she was African-American. Attorneys fought for Foster’s right to attend the university, and about a year later she was admitted into the school. Not even one hundred years ago, Foster was the first African-American student to attend a public university.
    Unfortunately it does not end there, Foster’s education at Alabama was cut short. Less than a week into her attendance at the university, Foster was harassed on campus and bombarded with endless threats. When Foster spoke on September 17, she talked about her experience of the 3000 Klansmen waiting for her to step outside and chanting racial statements at her. Foster was suspended for “her safety, and the safety of other students,” and she was later on expelled.
    Over thirty years later, her expulsion was finally annulled and Foster returned to the University of Alabama and earned her Master’s degree in education. Foster’s ambition and actions have left an impact on Alabama, and on the entire nation. Her courage to fight against social injustice at the university has qualified her a legacy on the campus. Foster truly is an inspiration, and an empowering woman to look up to. She has strived for greatness, and continues to impact lives of many students.