Be aware of opportunities

Opportunities and Awareness

Be aware of opportunities

Hello, welcome to the first of a three part series to bring you the voices of the millennial women of today! I will be sharing their perspectives on opportunities in the workplace, life lessons that I’m sure will resonate with several of you and their take on mentoring. This series was driven by the curiosity of thoughts I have shared below.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

In the game of life, we don’t have time to stop we have to keep pushing ourselves to improve. Growing in life does not come from complacency it comes from consistency and persistence. While young women in all fields have been known to push themselves, there happens to be the question, are they succeeding nearly as much as they could be? Are there acquirable tools to aide in the advancement of their careers? In other words, is there something that these young women may be missing, such as opportunities or connections, that could boost their careers?

I, Anita Chitnis, had the privilege of interviewing young millennial women from California to New York on behalf of WINGS for Growth. These women truly bring diverse perspectives as women who reside in different fields, different backgrounds, and different mindsets.

To protect our participants’ privacy, we have chosen to share only their last initial. We thank them deeply for sharing their voices with WINGS and hope other young women out there find this inspiring.


Are some young professional women missing out because they are unaware of opportunities that are there are for their taking?

“There is a certain formula we are conditioned to want to follow from a young age. Go to  college, find a job, find a boyfriend, start a family etc. Sometimes we may be so wrapped up in this formula we may not push ourselves but that is changing with millennials. This isn’t the case anymore, more women are pushing for professional goals every single day.” – Anjana S., D.C.

“Any limit that we perceive is a limit that we have created for ourselves. Sometimes women may over analyze a situation more than their male counterparts but pushing for opportunities and creating them for yourself is very important. Remember, there is no actual “box” to think outside  of, you have to create your own reality.” – Laura P., New York City

“Any barrier that I have ever felt has never really been because of my gender, race or anything physical. It often has been myself doubting my abilities and that is what others may feel as well. The more you push for something the more you are likely to get it. You have to create opportunities for yourself.” – Susie L., East Brunswick

We hope you enjoyed the first of the micro blog series and continue to follow our journey as we learn more from these dynamic women. if you would like to see more articles like this, please make sure to share your comments below. More importantly, we want you to know that there are many ways to get involved with WINGS for Growth. If you are a seasoned veteran in the industry, consider being a mentor to pay it forward or you can explore the idea of becoming a mentee and benefiting from the program. In addition, you can champion a mentor mentee engagement or be a volunteer to really get to know who we are as an organization! Remember, it is never a bad time to learn something new!

Until next time,

Anita

This blog article was contributed by Anita Chitnis an aspiring writer, blogger and a volunteer at WINGS.

Spring is here – Time to start your professional rejuvenation!

Mentoring can provide much needed care for your professional garden

For months the cold barren fields have made being outside unbearable. Spring is nature’s way of saying it is ready to get down to business, it is the time to flourish. Birds are chirping, animals come out of hibernation, we clean our homes, and go outdoors to rejuvenate our souls. Similarly, in terms of career, we embark on rigorous paths and propel ourselves into more difficult challenges. These challenges can range from wanting to get more involved in your work environment and moving up the corporate ladder to beginning an entirely new career path.

For a professional women, spring can also be the season of cleansing the mind of old tactics and realizing the need for development. Planting seeds in the beginning of spring ensures that we have crops to consume in the coming months. Similarly, the small seeds of effort we put into leadership development and building our skill sets can mature into big initiatives. In order to grow to their full potential, these small seeds need to be nurtured, watered and given incubation. Let us say, as a young professional you have embarked on a journey toward the position you want. You are taking all the right steps in that direction but what if there was a way for you to achieve that goal in an efficient manner? Having access to an open environment, unbiased advice and a strong support system can enable a young woman such as yourself to rise to the top.

How to go about that change?

Finding a mentor who sees potential in you, is a positive way for a young woman to overcome obstacles in achieving her dreams. It is true that finding opportunities to gain practical exposure in areas of interest is tricky and at times inaccessible. Often, I hear the question, “who can benefit from mentors?” Generationally, millennials would benefit from mentoring because they have the passion to create value around them. While mentoring helps young professionals, there is still a general misunderstanding that mentors are only suited for those who have recently graduated and are struggling. The segment of young women who have worked for a few years and want to take charge of their upward career mobility also benefit from mentoring. Not every environment boasts initiatives to drive these women into the next phase of their career and their talent can simply be lost in a sea of mediocrity

Mentorship is a very powerful tool used to launch and advance careers and has been proven to help in all stages of professional development.

As a person wanting change, you need to own it, and drive it. Obtaining a mentor at this stage can help find purpose and make big positive life changes in order to be that fully rejuvenated x.0 version of yourself. Learning from others mistakes, obtaining guidance from industry professionals and propelling yourself forward professionally are just a few reasons that a mentor can be a great tool for a young woman in any stage of her career. As with warm weather and new beginnings, spring is a wonderful time for a professional woman to lay down the seeds for her career.

With the help of a mentor a woman can water and nurture the career plant and watch it grow into something incredible and, best of all, realize her own potential

We all have dreams waiting to be pursued why not get them out of our closets and give them life this spring?

As a nonprofit organization, WINGS for Growth provides a mentoring program on leadership development. At the end of this month our present cohort of mentees will begin their formal mentoring journey. We are incredibly proud of these young women who have taken their first step in taking charge of their professional development. If you need more information about this event, drop a line to [email protected] If you are looking to join WINGS as a mentee, click here

This blog article was contributed by Anita Chitnis an aspiring writer, blogger and a volunteer at WINGS.

Celebrating International Women’s Day!

WINGS Mentees strike a pose at our Orientation event!

From all of us here at WINGS for Growth, we would like to wish you happy International Women’s Day!
We admire and strive to mentor women to become strong leaders and have discovered that an outcome-based mentoring program, with a carefully tailored program and matched mentor to mentee, can make a huge and positive difference in attaining the mentee’s goals.
Here at WINGS, we are convinced that mentoring focused on leadership development is an opportunity that many early career women are looking for. There are many programs offered by employers to their employees. These programs are great in giving the visibility and exposure to move up the ladder. However, not all mentoring experiences amount the same. Some of them were weighed down with mentors who did not have time to spend with them.
In some instances, the mentees faced an endless loop of mentoring with no concrete goal in sight. In many cases, the mentoring was a spot treatment to solve a problem and the mentee and mentor often lost touch over time so that they couldn’t easily tap in to a comfort zone of teaming with each other when they needed to.
This is why WINGS chose to offer a formal outcomes based mentoring program. The mentors and mentees themselves are committed to the 10-month long program and are subjected to a rigorous 4-step selection process.

Our mentors are senior industry leaders who are truly paying-it-forward and passionately believe in our cause. Our mentees have taken the first bold step in recognizing the need to be mentored and are already on their path to success by their initiative.

WINGS’ proprietary methodology and framework guides our mentors and mentees them through the entire program. The mentors and mentees are paired manually, per the guidelines of our methodology. The first order of business is to devise a development plan for each mentee that the mentor approves with the oversight of a champion, then the mentor and mentee pair work on development areas.

The WINGS program offers connectivity events every quarter to ensure there is visibility among the established industry leaders, other cohort members and our sponsors. We also put together a curriculum of classroom training and executive coaching session in a group to promote interactive learning.

Each mentee is also given an opportunity to work on a project with partner nonprofit organization(preferably) to practice the skills that they learned, which enforces confidence in the ability to lead – a huge step forward.

They might get an opportunity to mentor a junior mentee from high school or middle school during this program.

After all, the success of our mentees is a true success for WINGS for Growth!

In this video, we bring inspiration shared by our mentees who have been through that self-reflection, recognize the need for growth, and share their opinion on why they joined WINGS. We hope you can feel their passion through this video.

On this day of celebrating women internationally, we urge you to reflect inwards and seek a mentor in your life, if you haven’t already. Make that bold step and commit to developing yourself. We would love to hear about your passion and growth areas and how a mentoring program can help you. Leave your thoughts, share the blog post, and show some love to our mentees for taking this step.

CALL TO ACTION: We invite every woman to celebrate herself, if you want to become a leader and be a better leader – Sign up for becoming a mentee with us!

As a male or a female industry professional who has seniority, support an early career woman – consider imparting your wisdom in others, Click Here to sign up!

To more women leaders and beyond!

-WINGS for Growth

How to Recover Gracefully, With a Little Help

Varsha, Mathangi and Bob celebrating the graceful recovery!

Into every business life, a few disasters will fall. But, recovering gracefully from disasters can still enable you to win the deal or forge a relationship. Here is our story…

WINGS for Growth is a young organization, and is focused on mentoring young women to be leaders, however we are fortunate enough to have several connections to some large and well respected companies. Recently we were engaged by a large, respected, Luxury Fashion Company with whom we hoped to forge a long-term relationship and possibly financial support. We were invited to present our program to their senior leadership. They offered us 90 minutes of their valuable time. This meeting was a significant milestone for us. Our team was working hard for weeks to ensure that our presentation looks top notch and all loose ends were tied.

Finally, the day has come!

We left 3 hours before meeting time allowing for any delays. The bad news is there was a bad accident in the tunnels leading to New York where the meeting was to be held, and we had no way to get around it. The result was we were stuck in the tunnel and were over an hour and a half late for the meeting. We called our senior contact in the company and asked what we should do. She was not very happy about the situation. Perhaps, she was feeling let down. They asked us to get there when we can, and then they will see if they still have the time for us. This was clearly a non-committal response, still much better than having to turn back.

When we finally arrived, everyone seemed to be impatient and agitated, and although they were trying to be polite, we were informed we only had 10 minutes left. Now it was our turn to feel tense and stressed. We had just been through a very long and uncomfortable ordeal to get here and now we only had 10 minutes? As a main presenter, all heads turned to me to take control of the meeting.  We had two choices – recover gracefully or give up. Taking a moment to regain composure, we decided to make the most of our time with the fashion company by staying positive and not giving up, our last weapon to recover gracefully.

South goes North

Rather than launching into our prepared pitch, our senior advisor suggested we hit the highlights at this point and see if we can win them over.Speaking very much from the heart, Varsha put away the prepared presentation and instead told them briefly about our organization, our experiences, what we could bring to the table and what we felt they could bring to the table. Bob, our senior advisor played quarterback by carefully watching body language and providing color commentary when needed. Mathangi, another team member, focused on highlighting aspects of our program that were relevant to their goals and objectives, Looking back, we truly had our “A” team at the meeting and this helped us to regroup and find a new way – – FAST.

Using a team approach, and openly showing our passion for the organization, the most extraordinary thing happened. Not only did they appreciate our deep values and strong commitment to the success of the program, but they were so taken by our passion, they granted us extra time!Not all of the invited executives could stay, but enough of them did stay to allow us to forge a strong relationship with them. They were thinking of using a large consulting company to help them with mentoring their leaders – but our passion and experience convinced them to give us a serious consideration.

In a few short weeks, one of the senior executives from the fashion company spoke at our December Mentee Orientation. We were thrilled to have her and she gave a very inspirational talk to our mentees on how to become a good leader.

Graceful recovery tips

What did we learn from this experience? Every so often, things will “go south” on you. What you do about it is up to you. If you choose to recover gracefully, here are some things to consider.

  1. Be prepared to deviate from your prepared plan
  2. Teamwork is a key. Ensure all your team members are on side with the “new plan” and their role in it
  3. When things don’t go as planned, try to connect with the people in the room as quickly as possible. Listen carefully for sound bites that will connect you with your audience. Observe body language and modify your pitch to make it relevant.
  4. Being honest and open while being passionate about your believes could be the game changer

Recovering gracefully is not an easy thing to do, but it is often a choice that can lead to positive outcomes.

Even if you cannot close a deal, it could at least lead to another meeting where you will have more time.

If you had an experience with recovering gracefully, please share it. We would love to hear from you.

WINGS for Growth is always looking for mentors. Please visit our website and consider volunteering some of your time as a mentor.

In the event of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, WINGS for Growth reminds everyone that daring to dream must continue!

Martin Luther King Jr. Had a Dream – Do YOU have a Dream?

In the event of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, WINGS for Growth reminds everyone that daring to dream must continue!

In the event of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, WINGS for Growth reminds everyone that daring to dream must continue!

To help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, WINGS for Growth wanted to take the opportunity to reiterate how important great role models and mentors are, and to share some inspiring messages to help put us in the mood for the holiday.

As many of us know – but it is worth repeating – Dr. King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. This inspirational role model was the author of the “I have a dream” speech. In it, Dr. King so eloquently states “I have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed; ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’.” Although his 1963 speech stressed that even 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed – “the Negro is still not free”, today we celebrate many significant achievements of black people – including the eight year presidency of Barack Obama – which in 1863, no one dared to dream of. Today, daring to dream must continue.

Having role models and mentors, such as Mr. King, enable us to look beyond what is simple to achieve to tackle what is difficult to achieve.

Scientists, doctors, and researchers all work hard each day to prove what can be done – but first, someone had to dream that it might be possible. Who teaches and inspires us to dream? Mothers, fathers, relatives, friends, teachers, religious figures, local as well as famous role models instill in us the need to dream- to reach higher and farther. Mentors then show us HOW to achieve our dreams by sharing their wisdom, leading us, and enabling us to find our way.

What is a mentor?

  • A mentor is a career parent/person who has your best interest in mind
  • “A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself, and helps to bring it out in you” –Bob Proctor
  • A mentor imparts wisdom
  • A great mentor is a great person first
  • A mentor focuses on ‘developing’ NOT ‘doing’
  • “A mentor is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction” –John C. Crosby

As we celebrate the life and accomplishments of a great person, role model and mentor — Martin Luther King Jr. — remember that it is equally important to find your own passions and way, not to just follow in the footsteps of others.

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

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” — Malala Yousafzai

“We are so often left to wonder whether one person can possibly make a difference. Mother Teresa said yes, we can. Her life was resounding proof that it is possible” — Craig Kielburger

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not only celebrated in the USA, it is also recognized and celebrated in MANY countries around the world such as in Japan (Hiroshima), Canada (Toronto), Israel (Jerusalem), the Netherlands (Wassenaar) and more. Though not necessarily a national holiday, each country holds special ceremonies to remember, to teach tolerance and the importance of civil rights.

What will you do to celebrate?

Do you need a mentor? Do you wish to become a much needed mentor? WINGS for Growth was created to inspire, enable and empower talented young women to become leaders of the future through impactful mentoring, coaching and networking with visionary, successful, and caring leaders and role models. Contact us today www.wingsforgrowth.org