As Women Give San Diego has grown its member base over the years, we’ve celebrated the diversity of our group. With over a hundred members representing a wide spectrum of ages, professions, backgrounds and cultures, it’s no surprise that there is always something to learn from one another.
Our Fall meeting was hosted by the Mentorship Team and focused on the power of mentorship and how we can leverage our network to seek guidance or inspiration in our professional and personal lives.
The evening began with a panel discussion about how mentorship has positively impacted the professional careers of Judith McAllister, Jennifer Gilmore and Christina Shih. Gayle Tauber, co-founder of Women Give San Diego and Kashi Foods, moderated the discussion.
The Honorable McAllister began her career during an era where the concept of mentorship had not yet existed in the workplace. She found a champion and leader in her male supervisor who not only helped guide her path in the judicial workforce but fostered an environment where she was able to pursue her ambitions of being a lawyer and working mother. That example of mentorship inspired her to blaze a trail for women following in her footsteps and create a network of professional connection through the Lawyers Club of San Diego.
Christina Shih, Membership and Events Manager at Voice of San Diego and WGSD member, spoke about participating in a structured mentorship program and how that experience influenced her role as a family mentor to a newly resettled refugee family from Iran. She learned how mentorship can take shape in different forms, whether you are giving advice on how to handle a professional challenge or helping someone become familiar with a new environment.
Finally, Jennifer Gilmore, the Executive Director of Kitchens for Good shared how you can find mentorship within your own workplace, especially with your volunteers. She spoke about beginning her career as a volunteer at a food bank in Arizona. Since then, she has realized the potential of empowering your volunteers and staff to create a culture of support and success.
The panel discussion inspired the discussions that members and guests had in breakout groups. The conversations explored examples of mentorship, how to find a work life balance and speculated on the future of women in the work place. We were reminded of how critical it is to be your own advocate in the workplace and set examples by leadership. We also were presented with new ways of juggling work and home life by not thinking of it as work life balance, but work life integration.
Over the course of the evening, new connections were made and existing friendships were strengthened. There was no better way to honor the vision and contributions made by our late founder Jan Tuttleman.