3 Non-Negotiables My Mentors Taught Me – In Celebration of National Mentoring Month

By Mia Hall

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

Throughout my life, I have been very thankful for those who have taken the time to give me advice, endorse me, review my resume or just be a listening ear when life gets tough. Because of this, I am very excited about National Mentoring Month!

For Dr. Martin Luther King Day as well as the “Day of Service,” I met up with my mentee to help renovate a community center in Brownsville, Brooklyn. While painting, we caught up and she told me about her desire to help teenage mothers in need with shelter. I proceeded to give her my advice on making any endeavor a success, create a plan and speak to people that have done similar projects in the past. I also told her that once she comes up with a business plan for the home, I will take a look and help her through the process. This was one of the many things she wanted to talk about and I was glad to be her sounding board for a few hours.

Today, I will visit a school and let the students know how I benefited from having mentors in my life, most of whom came through PowerPlay, NYC, like Donna Orender for example, or my ubermentor, Alfred Edmond, Jr. Though I can (and may) write a book of all of the ways I was helped, here are three things I learned from my mentors throughout the years:

1. DREAM BIG: hearing about the careers of others and all of the possibilities that are available to those who go after their dreams was huge for me. On television, the majority of people I saw, that looked like me, were entertainers and athletes. My mentors showed me that no matter where you are from, if you are consistent, work hard, and build relationships, you will accomplish your goals. I met people that grew up in single parent households, crime-ridden and drug infested neighborhoods, nonetheless, were able to rise to the highest heights of the sports business world. This exposure enabled me to think outside of the projects and into the world beyond the playing field and into the boardroom.

2. Take my EDUCATION seriously: Not that I was a complete failure in school before I gained a mentor, nonetheless, I did sometimes take my education for granted. Having a mentor taught me to truly focus on my work so that I could elevate my career and life. Even after college, I learned that you must gain knowledge in your area of expertise, whether through trade journals or one-time courses.

3. The power of LOYALTY – Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success whom I met at the Black Enterprise Women of Power Conference in 2007, allowed me to come to her offices once per month for thirty minute sessions. During these times what I remember the most is her teaching me the power of loyalty. She had been at Dress for Success for 10 years at the time and is still there today. There were times I wanted to leave my job at the time, nonetheless, she advised that I stay not only as future employers use longevity as a factor in their hiring decisions, but also because one can learn a lot from staying in a place for an extended period of time.

I have a mindset that has come from spending hours with women and men that have accomplished many of the things I would like in my career, finances, and faith. Further, let National Mentoring Month be a kickoff for your mentoring throughout the year. Give back and make the world a better place for your children and those who will live beyond our years on earth.

What have you learned from your mentor(s) throughout the years?

Leave a comment below!


miaAbout the Author
Mia Hall is a sports and entertainment reporter specializing in the business of sport. She has worked with organizations such as the NBA, NY Knicks, Black Enterprise, The Basketball Channel, The High School of Sports Management, and is currently with the new Barclay’s Center. She is passionate about the youth of today and committed to nonprofits such as PowerPlay NYC, Inc. and other youth empowering organizations.