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Mentorship in the life of Dolly

iFriday, May 31st, 2013 comments by

Mentorship in the Life of Dolly

Mampsane Dolly Phalane holds a Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering and a Masters Degree of Business Administration. Dolly worked as an Engineering graduate in the manufacturing sector before joining a multinational consumer goods company as Quality Assurance Manager. She recently joined the newly formed SAWomEng Mentorship Division as the Mentorship Coordinator for Limpopo province. She is also a member of the South African Women in Science & Engineering (SAWISE) and a mentor with the E-Mentoring Network for Diversity in Engineering and Science. She is passionate about mentoring, coaching and motivating others and has leadership responsibilities at the workplace and in the community.

Where it started for Dolly

As a mentee

I always believed in mentoring and I took the responsibility upon myself to look for a mentor early in my career. My first real mentor was the Manufacturing Director of the company I worked for during my graduate program and that opportunity opened my eyes to how crucial mentorship is. My love for mentoring developed when I recognized how much I matured from the guidance I received from my mentor. Today, I have a mentor in two senior leaders who work in the same company with me. As a mentee, I am always ready to listen and take constructive criticism; I have realistic expectations and I keep in touch with my mentors to exploit a learning environment.

As a mentor

The first time I took the opportunity to mentor people was through Career Build in 2011 where I started with two protégés, guiding them on creating career plans and choices. The fulfilment I got from doing that made me realize that I was very passionate about mentorship. I started to look for more opportunities and recently I founded Xcelo, a company that focuses on motivational speaking, mentoring and coaching. The key focus is on young people and I have big plans for my community as a way to build more influential leaders and giving back to the society.

My definition of mentoring

One of my mentors always said there is no need to reinvent the wheel; to me mentorship is a platform where knowledge, skills and perspective are shared based on personal real life examples and experiences to help the mentee not repeat the same mistakes as you did and learn from you. It is based on mutual trust and respect for one another. Mentorship is fundamental and benefits both the mentor and mentee. One thing that all my mentors had that I did not was experience. Mentors use their experience to provide direction, guide and coach the mentee on personal and professional related subjects. Mentoring allows the mentee to explore new ideas in confidence. It is a chance to look more closely at yourself, your strengths, opportunities and what you want in life. Mentoring is about increasing self-awareness, taking responsibility for your life and directing your life in the path you decide, rather than leaving it to chance.

What have I gained from mentorship?

  • Helped me make the right choices in life with the right attitude towards life.
  • Helped me maximize my potential.
  • Helped me believe in myself more and boosted my confidence.
  • Enabled me to showcase leadership.
  • Helped me see that I can do more to give back.
  • Improved my work performance, motivation and engagement, as well as clarification of personal and professional career goals.

Joining SAWomEng

The first time I saw a flyer about SAWomEng, I knew that this is where I fit in. I looked at the initiative as another podium for me to do what I am passionate about and I was very quick to jump into the opportunity. I would like to see more upcoming female engineers with improved leadership skills and the enthusiasm to coach and develop others coming after them. It’s a privilege for me to be presented with the opportunity to do something so valuable and I don’t take this lightly or for granted.

My Advice

Your personal and professional development is your own responsibility. Look out for potential mentors in inspirational people you meet. The best way to find a mentor is to choose someone with similar values, someone who has the kind of life and work you would like to have and do not feel offended when people say no to you, take it positively and keep looking.
We all have something to give. If you are out there and have a burning sensation to mentor someone, go for it. Always give your all, have passion and make it happen whether it brings money for you or not. Your experience and guidance can change someone’s life for the better. No matter how little your efforts looks like, the long term results are invaluable. 

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