Mara Swan is ManpowerGroup’s Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent. She’s had a significant impact on talent development and shaping the business strategy, and has received many honors for her contributions, including being named HR Executive of the Year for 2012 by Human Resource Executive magazine.
Mara is also an Everwise Mentor. We recently had the opportunity to talk with her about leadership development including the vital role of mentoring. Following are excerpts from our interview.
Was there a “light bulb moment” where you realized the value of mentorship?
Yes. I was in the beer business. There aren’t many women in the beer business and there was not much mentorship going on. I had to navigate the challenges on my own and made a lot of mistakes along the way. These experiences really led me to dedicate more of my time to helping others so they didn’t have to make the same mistakes.
I’ve always helped people with their development but mentorship is a little different. I try to work with people to help them achieve their highest potential.
What do you get out of mentorship?
I don’t think there’s anything more exciting than unleashing the potential of another person and seeing them achieve their dreams. Often when you’re talking with someone from a mentorship standpoint, they’re stuck or they’re not thinking big enough.
When you help them see the world through a different lens, you see them blossom – and many times it has an impact not only on their work life but also on their personal life. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than that.
Tell me about an experience that you’ve had with a protégé where you were able to make a difference in their career.
One of my protégés recently was promoted to a client-facing position that she had been working towards for a few years. She was in a staff role and needed to find the sponsorship and build new skills to be considered for the job.
We worked together to create a plan on how to get there, and I know that the mentoring relationship was a big piece of why she was able to achieve her goal.
To read the full interview, including Mara’s advice for for experienced professionals who are looking to make mentorship a part of their professional life, click here.