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November 20, 2018

History's Greats Had Mentors & Why You Need One, Too

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg, Director

Some of history and pop culture’s greatest success stories and triumphs were the result of a solid mentor and mentee relationship. Such dynamic duos have graced history books, pop culture and the small and big screens for ages…

Yoda & Luke Skywalker, Professor Dumbledore & Harry Potter, Oprah & Maya Angelou, Mark Zuckerberg & Bill Gates, Christian Dior & Yves St. Laurent to name a few. The wise mentor leads the mentee, while the mentee brings fresh thinking to each new obstacle.

The function of the mentor and mentee relationship in the workplace is not too far off from any of the famous duos listed.

Mentors Push for Mentee Growth

Mentors act as cheerleaders, coaches and challengers–pushing the mentee to consider their growth within the organization outside of the confines of their current role. Most mentors in fact began where the mentee sits. This senior influence serves as a reminder to the mentee that anything is possible with hard work.

FACT: Of those with a mentor, 97% say they are valuable, 55% believe mentoring can help them succeed, 60% look for experience in a mentor above anything else. However, 85% currently do not have a mentor.* 

Mentors Help Mentees Assimilate Into Company Culture

In the workplace, the mentor and mentee relationship provides the mentee with an understanding of the culture, protocol and inner workings of an organization. What does casual Friday really mean? What time do people break for lunch? At our desks or venturing out? Why are the people on our teams so valuable to who we are as a company? Why is the company’s branding so important for what we stand for and the image it projects to the community?  Understanding and assimilating into a company’s culture is almost as vital as a well-match professional role. Without this understanding, many employees move on. The mentor serves as a guide to navigate the company culture and answer all of the mentee’s questions surrounding the subject.

FACT: 93% of small and medium sized businesses acknowledge that mentoring can help them to succeed. Only 25% of these businesses currently make use of mentors.*

Mentors and Mentees Act as Corporate Confidants

The mentor ultimately serves as an overarching support system, guiding and leading the mentee throughout whatever they may face. This person, within the structure of the organization, offers a unique protective relationship. The mentee can feel confident in asking questions and posing concerns as ideally this individual is not their direct supervisor, but rather a more removed individual.

Designship Offers Mentorship

Designship, the first apprenticeship program of its kind, specifically for design graduates, offers a built-in mentorship program as one of the pivotal pillars of the program:

      – The relationship strengthens the organization’s ROI, as mentees are positively influenced to stay at an organization

      – Promotes clearer, more effective communication

      – Supports an understanding of the company culture and values

Every employer-selected mentor is supported by the Designship staff and its resources. Mentors shape the program through their valuable feedback. In addition, Mentoring Skills for Leaders, is available to both the apprentice and mentor alike. This course rounds out the six (6) required management and leadership courses in the program. And finally, the mentor role is perpetuated as design apprentices learn to be skilled mentor for future hires.

A solid mentor/mentee relationship promotes leadership growth and acceleration from designers and creatives, bringing new thinking to top roles in an organization. Mentoring can improve employee engagement, confidence and transferable skills–especially people skills–so it is especially useful as part of leadership development.**

Interested in learning more about mentorship as a part of the Designship program? Contact us at 414.847.3219 and/or


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