The resource group is one of the largest in the bank but the event still felt intimate with over 30 mentors and 30 mentees.
I had never participated in an event like this so I was excited to get to go and experience it to see how it was planned and also to see if I could find a mentor match. I think there is also a misconception that this resource group is just for females and that isn’t true. There were male mentors and mentees as well and I really felt that they helps the objective of the group – women need to understand men’s work habits and men need to understand women and I think groups like this can help create a mutual understanding. Resource groups are about finding a common interest in most cases and feeling supported in the workplace. I am a member of both WIN and iGen (future blog to come about that group) but there are 8 other groups to join at the bank with more chapters in the individual hubs of M&T.
The event was laid out similar to a speed dating session, I am told, as I have never participated in one of those either. The group was broken out into three sets separated based on departments, manager’s relationships, etc. Once everyone had talked a bit the event kicked off and was off and running. Having six minutes to try and get to know another person is challenging, let alone trying to have them get to know you as well. I was fortunate to have someone who I had worked with on a project in the past as my first pairing so it helped to get the butterflies out.
The mentors were a wide-range of levels, departments, and had spent different amounts of their careers at the bank. Some had been there as little as a few months but had extensive backgrounds prior to joining M&T, while others had spent their whole careers with the company. Diversity of perspectives was the name of the game and finding a mentor who you could truly connect with and feel comfortable with was the prize and everyone had the opportunity to be a winner.
Now, I am someone who thoroughly enjoys networking and connecting with people and learning about what they do. MDP taught me a lot about how important it is especially at M&T. But finding a mentor in this way was not something I was familiar with, I am sure very few people are. To me finding a mentor has always just come naturally through a connection from sports, college, etc. But to be placed in a room with people, about half of who I knew or knew of before the event and the other half I had never heard of before the event, was an exciting new opportunity and I think that is what this company affords its employees to do.
M&T was built on relationships whether they are with our employees, our customers, or our shareholders. I believe having mentors of different skill sets and in different points in their career is important. I am looking forward to following up on a few of the connections I made through the speed networking session without the six minute time constraint to see if there is a potential mentor relationship there.
***The opinions expressed in this blog are purely my own and are not the opinions of M&T.***