Consider your mentor.
Whether it’s someone who helped with your career, education, or hobby, there’s probably a friend, relative, or professor who aided you in getting to where you are now.
Take Charles Penny, a Transportation Planner in our Baltimore office, for example. On March 8, Charles visited Patterson High School as part of Women in Transportation (WTS) Transportation YOU’s mentoring program. He and four other mentors taught professional development skills to 12 high school girls through confidence-building exercises, mock interviews, and offering helpful tips on composing oneself during introductions.
For nearly three years, Charles mainly focused on program coordination and support for the committee, but as the only male he had never interacted with the students as a mentor before. This was the committee’s first professional development workshop, as well as the first time a male was incorporated into the mentoring program for young women.
Charles said that he enjoyed working with the minority youth and that it was a great opportunity for the students to connect with someone they can relate to. He and the other mentors shared their experiences and vulnerabilities with regard to professional development, allowing the students to address and express their own career hopes and dreams.
Charles had his own mentors growing up, and he viewed this as a great opportunity to pay it forward by sharing some of the advice he was given, as well as what he’s learned through his career.
“I remember being their age and being grateful for people giving their time to me,” Charles said. “It showed me that even if you don’t know someone personally, they can still care about you and want to help you.”