My father told me many times, “There’s never a bad time to do something good”. This is true today more than ever. With all the crazy things happening in the world, it makes sense to give back and mentor others whenever you can. Our world needs more passionate, inspiring and successful leaders. I was the fortunate recipient of some excellent mentoring during my 26 years on Wall Street, and now I want to share that experience and knowledge with other women. Finding it was difficult for me – so allow me to give back and make it easy for you.
My father always saw a teacher in me. My first job after college was to teach at the university in India as a professor of chemistry. After coming to the USA, I gave up teaching and worked for several big Wall Street companies learning what it took to climb the corporate ladder. At first it was satisfying to attain short term goals, be exposed to senior management and get increasingly more “important” positions. But what it lacked was the opportunity for me to learn to think and act and like a true leader – to affect change, inspire others and allow my passion to drive my work. How could I be the teacher my father saw in me if I did not know how to be a passionate leader?
So I tried changing jobs – starting over to see if I could find my purpose and my passion. In each of the new companies there were mentoring programs, but what I found was these mentoring programs were more about how I needed to change to be a better employee for the company and to attain higher positions — not how to be a leader or inspire others. It was more about corporate policy and HR/Talent management — not about earning a seat at the decision table, how to change what did not work, or how to successfully challenge the status quo. I wanted to be able to fix what was broken and not worry about what my boss might say or if my actions might negatively impact a promotion. I wanted to be able to present my ideas freely and be heard, and not be afraid of breaking unwritten rules or being removed from projects if my actions were perceived to be out of line somehow.
True leadership development is more about life experiences; it is not limited solely to work. Having a mentor available to me that was invested in MY career and MY success, rather than the success of the corporation, was what was missing from my development. Sure, the courses offered by each company I worked for were useful and provided education and training for my positions, but none of them focused on preparing me to be a true leader or to motivate others.
This realization inspired the idea for WINGS for Growth (WINGS) – a non-profit organization. By finding inspiring, creative and thought provoking mentors, and bringing them together in a structured program, many women can receive excellent leadership training and mentoring to become true leaders driven by passion and purpose. The WINGS program focuses on the mentee’s (the person being mentored) innate traits and style to develop her authentic leadership style. Finding strong role models to learn from is very important, but translating the learning is necessary to stay true to yourself and develop your own leadership style.
Our dream is to establish WINGS as a leadership institute for women executives and thought leaders globally. To do this, we are always on the lookout for senior leaders from every industry to mentor our mentees, and women who are looking for the right mentor to help them develop to their full potential.
My father, a passionate and inspiring leader himself, was right – there is never a bad time to do something good – and that time is now. If you truly desire to become an inspiring leader, please contact us – and if you are an inspiring senior leader that would like to give back, please contact us to become one of our mentors. Together, we can create many more inspiring leaders that can change what does not work, challenge the status quo, and make work a little more fun at the same time.
Click here to learn more about Wings for Growth, become a mentor, or become a mentee.
Lastly, we would like to wish you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving and invite you to reflect on and thank those people that have inspired you to be the best you can be.