A mentor can be a tremendous help to your career and your life. When I first joined Merrill Lynch in 2000, I attended an offsite during my first week. An SVP was our guest speaker & she was amazing. She had a 25 year career on the Street, and was truly a leader in the field of Technology & Operations. I knew I wanted her to be my mentor, but I paced myself. I had just started at the company.
Pay attention when they speak at meetings and/or town halls. When she was recognized for a business achievement, I congratulated her. I serviced her business as the head of staffing, and made sure I knew exactly what she was looking for. Knowing about her business made it easier to find quality people.
Go beyond the professional boundaries. We had lunch & that I got to know her a bit more on a personal level. I found out that in addition to being a business maverick, she had two children who were in college. She was also an exceptional quilter, and I enjoyed quilting as well. So I shared some interesting articles, and projects I was working on.
Be informed about news she would care about. Perhaps she missed an article about a competitors Tech & Ops business. That’s really a nice thing to do because the more you can keep them informed, the more they see you as an information source and they want to be connected to you in some way, shape, or form.
Build a relationship with their team if appropriate. Their admins are powerful people so proceed with caution. Get to know them well but don’t be a pain in the neck.
Listen to what they say. Most importantly, act on their advice and then circle back to them and let them know, “Hey, Diane. You know you gave me this incredible advice the other day. I really appreciate it. I worked at it a little bit like you said and this is what happened.” Thank them. Let them know you’re listening. That is a huge deal to them!