Leadership Learning Sisterhood

Women & Wisdom: Empowering Sisters through Mentoring

We asked a mentorship pair to tell us about their experience with the Women & Wisdom program. Hear firsthand from Lexi and Iris about the impact of this mentoring experience!

Mentee

Name: Lexi Bard
Chapter: Kappa Upsilon (Florida International University)
Major: Political Science, International Relations
Graduation Year: 2019

Q: Why did you join the Women & Wisdom mentoring program?
A: I joined the Women & Wisdom mentoring program because after graduating I was feeling overwhelmed about going to law school and my career path.

Q: How did you find/select your mentor?
A: I picked my mentor because I saw that she kind of picked the same path as me in college and she is a lawyer. So I thought, who better to get advice and perspective from?

Q: What were you hoping to learn from your mentor?
A: I was really hoping that I would just have a sister who already went through law school help decide if I was ready to go to law school. I never expected to get so much advice on my law school career and also my actual career path from someone who is ultimately living my career goals.

Q: How did connecting with your mentor impact you personally or professionally?
A: Connecting with my mentor has impacted me in such a positive way both personally and professionally. Iris not only helped me decide on law school but helped me with everything for my law school applications. For example, when I couldn’t decide on a topic for my personal statement, she listened to all three of them and helped me settle on which to use. This program ultimately calmed so many of my anxieties and worries about how my life after undergrad was going to play out.

Q: Tell us more about your experience as a mentee.
A: During our time as a mentor/mentee, I went through a really hard time as my mom came out of remission from stage 4 breast cancer, and my grandma, who I was exceedingly close with, passed away unexpectedly. Iris was so comforting and truly just someone I could talk to without feeling judged or feeling like I had to be careful and keep my composure. I think that what is so incredible about the mentoring program with Alpha Chi Omega is that as a mentee you’re getting advice from a sister, so it’s someone who genuinely has an interest in helping you. Iris truly made my life so much easier and made me more confident in my decisions.

Mentor
Name: Iris Fugate
Chapter: Epsilon Psi (University  of California, Irvine)
Job: Assistant Director of Admissions at California Western School of Law

Q: Why did you join the Women & Wisdom mentoring program?
A: While I was a collegiate member of Alpha Chi Omega, I developed an incredibly valuable, meaningful relationship with my chapter advisor which continued as a mentorship for many years. My mentorship with her helped see me through all aspects of college life – as a sorority member, student and young professional. She helped guide me through law school after I finished my collegiate years, remained close while I studied for the California bar exam and remains a close friend to this day. Her impact on the trajectory of my life and career was very positive. In joining Women & Wisdom I hoped to be able to make even a fraction of a positive difference in the life of a collegian similar to the experience I had with my Alpha Chi mentor.

Q: What made you want to become a mentor? 
A: College years (and early on after college graduation) in a woman’s life is an enormously important phase full of exciting possibilities and important decisions being made on what might feel like a daily basis. For so many of us, we are out on our own for the first time and our decisions are truly our own at that point. It can be so nerve-wracking, and I remember doubting myself so frequently and just hoping for the best outcome. Having a mentor made me feel so much more confident in those decisions because I had someone to act as a sounding board who could hear me out and see some of those decisions and transitions from a more removed, objective standpoint. I hoped that I could provide that voice for someone by becoming a mentor, because I think it is a voice we all need to hear. But more importantly, I hoped to be an ear for that person. To be able to simply talk through things out loud to someone who doesn’t necessarily know the sometimes messy background is so helpful for making sure that you’ve looked at all the options and considered all of the outcomes when you come to a fork in the road.

Q: How were you hoping to help/guide mentees in the program?
A: I was hoping to provide a kind, gentle and safe space for a mentee to speak about the things she is experiencing, hoping for and working toward. Being an adult is scary sometimes, and having someone who has not so long ago had similar experiences and big life transitions who will listen and provide feedback and encouragement can be very meaningful, so this is what I sought to provide as a mentor.

Q: How did connecting with your mentees impact you personally or professionally? 
A: It was a great reminder that young women from every part of the country (truly every part of the world!) go through similar transitions during our collegiate years. Everyone learns different, valuable lessons at this point in our lives, and there is great benefit in sharing that learning with others with whom we’re connected by our sisterhood in Alpha Chi Omega

Q: Tell us more about your experience as a mentor.
A: I’ve been so pleased and proud to meet two very impressive, thoughtful young women with bright futures through my experience as a mentor. It’s been a fun way to relive some of the aspects of our big sis/little sis traditions and relationships from the collegiate years but in a new way, given our age differences and breadth of life experience. I’ve loved this opportunity and feel so lucky to have connected with my mentees.

Looking for your own mentor? Join Women & Wisdom to get started and connect with a mentor just like Lexi did. Want to impact sister just like Iris has? Sign up to mentor others!

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