Hello, all! Kristy Craig here, Professional Development Coordinator with Pensacola Young Professionals. If you haven’t heard, PYP has brought back Mentor Pensacola, an initiative that began in 2015 and that has some major perks for our members. Not a member of PYP? No worries! Just head on over to our Membership page and sign up to take advantage of this once-yearly opportunity to be mentored by a leader in our community. Membership is currently 20% off (ending August 31), so it’s the perfect time to join. We’re talking discounts, member-exclusive benefits, and some seriously impressive opportunities for personal growth, professional elevation, and new friendships to come along with it.
I am so excited about Mentor Pensacola returning because mentorship is something that is so deeply important to me. So much in fact, that it’s a big part of my job. Having someone believe in you, inspire you, or provide a guiding or encouraging voice can truly be life-changing. As I take a moment to reflect on what mentoring means to me, I’m immediately transported back to a colorful rug, tiny tables, and an air of wonder about the world. I’m talking way back – walk with me, if you will – and think of tiny cartons of chocolate milk, pizza that comes in an unnatural shape, vying desperately to be named line leader, and backpacks bigger than our bodies. Of course, I’m talking about kindergarten. This is the earliest memory I have of being profoundly influenced by someone who cared about me outside of my family and the tiny world I knew. Back in the day, my school offered a program where 5th-grade students could buddy up with a kindergartner to read with them, walk to class, and navigate the many unknowns of this big, new world known as school. I remember feeling so important and so special when this cool, older kid came into the classroom and was there to see me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that experience likely has a lot to do with my growing up as a lover of learning, impactful relationships, and giving back. In getting to manage a Pre-K mentoring program as part of my everyday life, I see the same wonder and excitement in the face of students I work with that I once experienced myself. Over the years, my greatest mentors have been my teachers. My 5th-grade teacher gave me my earliest lessons in etiquette and financial responsibility. My 9th-grade teacher poured into my young book lover’s heart and helped me find my footing in a world that, to me, was much scarier than those kindergarten days. And my goodness, I will never forget my 11th-grade math teacher who set aside 15-20 minutes at the end of every class to help me grasp those algebraic concepts that to this day still elude me. I often wonder what could have happened if none of them had stopped to ask me how I was doing, to guide me in the right direction, or to truly care about my success beyond the confines of a classroom.
Fast-forward to my post-college days and more careers explored than I care to admit, I found my footing in the professional world and with that, the desire to give back. I’m proud to call myself “mentor” to someone with some painful life experiences who took a chance and confided in me. Through some rocky beginnings, as she first stepped into the workforce to now having a stable career, I found joy and a personal sense of fulfillment in getting to lend her advice, encouragement, a shoulder, and ultimately a lasting friendship.
Now, I find myself again as a mentee, but this time in a professional setting. We talk about our goals, how to get there, what’s important to our long-term happiness, and opportunities for growth. It’s because of her that I joined PYP. Taking that leap has opened my world, introducing me to new friends, important connections, different ways of thinking, and new paths to further advance myself personally and professionally.
Mentor Pensacola is opening the door for you to step in, take a chance, and invest in yourself. This opportunity connects you with a leader in the Pensacola area who will pour into your professional growth and aspirations, inspire you to reach for your goals, provide practical applications for achieving them, and introduce you to new and impactful experiences. In a world that values the importance of mental health and self-care, I’m asking you to choose you by choosing Mentor Pensacola.