Feb 22, 2018 - Partners

How to find a mentor in Charlotte – and how to maximize the relationship once you have one.


Note: This content was created in partnership with the Charlotte Chamber.

Being a mentor or a mentee can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your career.

Many successful Charlotteans have made their way through the ranks thanks to a helping hand and an attentive ear. Mentorship is one of those buzzwords that’s tossed around often, but how can you create meaningful, real-life connections right here in Charlotte?

Easy. The Charlotte Chamber has launched a new, free app, and it’s easy to become an Access level member (again, free… for real) so you can start swiping your way to the top of your work game.

The Business Connection section of the app brings together experts, entrepreneurs and mentorship opportunities. You can take their brief survey to customize your experience and need.

You don’t have to take it from us. Here are 8 Charlotteans who are taking it to the next level as both mentors and mentees.

Responses have been lightly edited for brevity.

Cheryl Luckett | Owner/Principal Designer, Dwell by Cheryl Interiors

“There’s no denying the value of mentoring relationships, but often the thought of seeking one out or taking on a mentee can seem daunting. I’ve found the greatest value when the relationship is steered by the mentee. Coming to the table with very clearly defined parameters takes the pressure off the mentor and increases the likelihood they’ll be willing to help.

My current mentee approached me with a plan for how our communication would be structured. In her initial request, she not only expressed her admiration for me but she also clearly defined what she needed. She requested to meet monthly for thirty minutes and made the commitment to come to the table with questions and concerns that she needed help addressing. Honestly, she made it very difficult for me to say no.”

Walt Frye | Executive Director, Innovate Charlotte

“Research tells us that companies with quality mentor relationships are up to three times more likely to achieve success than those that don’t have them (source: Endeavor Analytics). When experienced business leaders can share their knowledge with others, that makes for a stronger ecosystem and improves success for all.

As a mentor throughout my professional career and most recently advising with early stage companies, I also gain from exposure to innovative ideas and approaches to solving problems that entrepreneurs bring to the table.”

Amanda Pickens Nitto | Associate, Robinson Bradshaw

“Quality mentorship matters. My mentor [Angelique Vincent-Hamacher, below] helped kick start me on a pathway to success. When I asked her what it would take to be a successful lawyer at my firm, she told me exactly what I needed to do. Experience is an invaluable tool, and I am fortunate she shares her experience with me.  I am learning from someone who has already arrived at where I want to be.”

Angelique R. Vincent-Hamacher
| Shareholder, Robinson Bradshaw

“I try to slow down and be really intentional about mentoring. I think about all the mentors I have had along the way who invested in me, encouraged me and helped open doors for me.  I still rely on my mentors.  I view mentoring now as a way to pay it forward. It gives me great pride to see my mentee succeed professionally and personally. If she succeeds, I succeed. If she wins, I win.”

Christina Thigpen | Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Northwood Office, and Past Chair, Ballantyne Chapter of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

“Getting involved in professional organizations offers a natural path to meet potential mentors. I have benefited greatly from discussing best practices with industry peers.

Photo Credit PRSA Charlotte

Mentoring is all about maximizing relationships. It’s a rewarding way to share knowledge, broaden perspective and make an impact. The Charlotte Chamber’s new app makes it easier than ever to connect businesses and identify opportunities.”

Melissa McGuire | Managing Director, Sherpa Talent Acquisition Services

“What’s so great about mentoring?  Mentors provide me with an outside view when I’m too close to a situation and wisdom of experience when I’m facing new challenges. I have many mentors, not one, and informal mentors, rather than formal. A millennial sharing ideas over coffee, another business owner sharing war stories and a board chair leading our non-profit board, all teach me. This diversity of mentors, age, gender, political, race, life experience, etc., gives me a healthy mix of perspectives that help me grow and make better decisions.”

Jenny Moates | Chief Possibilities Officer, Moving Ideas, Inc. and author of “50 Coffees: How to Build Community (and Your Business) One Coffee at a Time”

“Mentoring up-and-coming talent is both rewarding and challenging. It takes a committed patience to the process but is worth the time spent and is an investment in both them and our business. They bring fresh ideas and a unique perspective which is uniquely valuable. As we know,

As we know, experience is the best teacher. So when someone is engaged and eager to learn from your years of experience, that’s when the magic happens. People begin to grow and you get to watch their small gains add up over time. Ultimately, I’m hoping to improve their future in some way.”

Bobby Chesney | Executive Vice President, Southeast Markets, PNC Bank and Charlotte Chamber Executive Committee Member

“Mentorship is a central part of the Charlotte Chamber’s commitment and renewal. The Chamber is a connector organization.  We’re at the table as our city tackles some real opportunities with workforce re-tooling, educating a sufficient and sustainable employment base and creating seamless connectivity between our superb centers of learning—both high schools and higher-ed. To do this successfully, the call for experience to mentor tomorrow’s talent is one we all must answer. The Chamber is going to be a hub for mentor/mentee connection. It’s our job.”

Charlotte is packed with intellectual capital, and the app with help fuel connections and cultivate relationships that can really make a difference – in your career and community.

Ready to meet your mentor? Download the new app and try it out.

Note: This content was created in partnership with the Charlotte Chamber.

Cover photo: Not Just Coffee.


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