Throughout the month of March, NYPA’s Digital Communications group will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.
Debra works at NYPA’s White Plains office in the Procurement Department as Director of the Supplier Diversity Program.
When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?
One of the most important parts of mentoring is listening twice as much as you speak. This allows you to better identify a mentee’s needs regarding his or her career growth and development. Once we are clear about expectations, a mentor’s job is to uncover the mentee’s potential, and then encourage and motivate.
The goal is to positively affect the person’s employee lifecycle. This is accomplished by discussing, constructing and developing strategies to address their professional development, challenges and any other items of importance to the mentee. Being a catalyst for discovery and facilitating professional and developmental “a-ha moments” is a goal of mine. When we can both realize such moments, the mentoring experience is all the more rewarding.
Another important part of being a mentor is being committed to the cause, taking it seriously and providing the time and truth, energy and effort necessary to affect the mentee’s definition of success. Helping someone achieve professional goals by sharing knowledge, experience, advice and perspective as needed, rounds out the total mentoring experience.
What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?
This is a difficult question. The words ‘work/life’ and ‘balance’ are almost an oxymoron, but common in today’s vernacular.
My advice would be to make it a point to take care of yourself first and to incorporate healthier habits into to your lifestyle. Enjoy your favorite form of exercise a few times a week. Mind-body balance is first.
Sit down and focus honestly on obligations. Define other priorities based on what they are vs. what you think they should be, and be clear on needs vs. wants. It helps prevent a person from becoming overwhelmed, which leads to imbalance.
Be willing to put in the necessary work toward achieving a balance. It requires conscious effort to retrain our brain to think of nontraditional and creative ways to become strategic in our priorities and time management. Be cognizant of life’s stressors and their impact on yourself, your family and your work.
Focus on what one must accomplish at work and what one can reasonably do at home. When at work make work the priority, and when at home make home the priority. Remember that we cannot be everything to everyone ALL the time. That is not our role!
And finally, recognize that “flexibility” is a key in achieving balance. And above all…accept the fact that we are all “human,” as characterized by superior intelligence, articulated speech and erect carriage etc., which are all amazing qualities. We are, however, not “super human” and we should not act the part. Being human requires us to B R E A T H E, and doing so deeply and slowly helps us to find our center and (re)gain balance!