MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: Why is it important to have a mentor? is written by Carolyn Rodz, CEO of Market Mentor.
Many of us may already have that one mentor that we turn to for advice–and that’s great–but the reality is that navigating our careers will take a village, which is why multiple mentors are necessary to truly succeed. So instead of focusing on one person, create a board of mentors: a team of people who you can learn from and equally contribute your own perspectives. Developing this board has catapulted my career in ways I never could have anticipated.
Currently, my board includes my business partner, a college student, a client, a colleague, an investor, a U.S. congressman, and a handful of other people with varied and valuable experiences. Each individual contributes a unique perspective based on their own experiences, and together they are my sounding board when faced with difficult and important decisions. In return, I support them in their endeavors and share my expertise when needed. Remember: a mentorship will only be beneficial if both (or all) parties are equally invested in the relationship.
By responding to the needs of others on my board, I’ve been encouraged to reach out to old contacts, build on my strengths, and challenge the status quo. In addition, I’ve built credibility with those on my board and am able to reach out when I need support, feedback, or introductions. For instance, when I decided to rebrand my company, I turned to my board for an outside perspective–they brought a broad range of suggestions that no branding expert, employee, or current customer could provide.
The professionals I choose to make up my personal board of advisors will vary depending on what stage I’m at in my career. However, I will always seek out people who will challenge me to think differently and expose me to new spheres of influence, but also those who understand the pressures of a startup.
Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: Why is it important to have a mentor?
Why young workers make the best mentors by Kim Getty, president of Deutsch.
5 things to know before becoming a mentor by Debby Hopkins, CEO at Citi Ventures.
Here’s one reason why you don’t need a mentor by Shiza Shahid, co-founder and ambassador of Malala Fund.
The do’s and don’ts of an effective mentor by Shannon Schuyler, leader of corporate responsibility at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Why you’re never too old to have a mentor by Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, national managing partner of corporate responsibility at KPMG.
How men can step up and help women get ahead at work by Gloria Cordes Larson, president of Bentley University.
When it comes to mentors, the more the merrier by Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Are you qualified to be a mentor? by Sarah Watson, chief strategy officer of BBH N.Y.
Is mentoring necessary for career advancement? by Teresa Briggs, vice chairman and west region managing partner at Deloitte.
Do all employees benefit from having a mentor? by Dawn Zier, president and CEO of Nutrisystem.
4 things your boss won’t tell you (but a mentor will) by Penny Herscher CEO of FirstRain.
What qualities make a good (and bad) mentor? by Karen Tegan Padir, president of application development at Progress Software.
Why mentoring is unlike any other professional relationshipby Jenni Luke, CEO of Step Up.
Why you don’t need a mentor to be successful by Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy at Ernst & Young.
What qualities should you look for in a mentor? by Gay Gaddis, CEO and founder of T3.
4 things to consider before choosing a mentor by Camille Preston, founder of AIM Leadership.
The most important quality a mentor should have by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.
Why women are more likely to be mentors by Alyse Nelson, CEO and co-founder of Vital Voices Global Partnership.
3 reasons every employee needs a mentor by Sally Blount, Dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Why this AOL executive chooses her mentors — wisely by Allie Kline, CMO of AOL, Inc.