This blog was written by Ana Inés Urrutia, Microsoft Business Applications MVP | D365 HR Consultant. Ana shares the lessons she learned along the way to uncovering the power of mentorship.
Mentoring is a gem
I knew, long before starting my professional career, that I was a people person. Maybe that's the reason I ended up studying Psychology. Enjoying the exchange with diverse human beings-expecting nothing in return, was part of my childhood and young life, so I expected that to happen as well in my job. As a brief resume, I started working in retail as a Sales Associate, passed through Human Resources for a lot of years, and finally found my place in the world as a Dynamics 365 Human Resources Consultant.
Along the way I had bosses and colleagues who helped me to become who I am today. And I mean this in both ways: some of the most important lessons in my life appeared after I faced big challenges with villain bosses. Back then I wasn't aware of it. I felt angry or sad, and underestimated the importance of some painful experiences. I'm not embracing the idea that pain leads you to become a better person, but the resignification of the pain into a lesson is what makes you overcome situations in a healthier way.
During my years as part of the Human Resources staff, my people-person side started to come alive again but in a new way. I was the sustenance of others because it was part of my job description but mostly because it was part of my essence. I finally found a place where I could, for a bit, stay connected, build culture and build bridges. Human Resources is responsible for supporting the company and its cultural environment, this means being open and aware of what is currently happening in the short, mid, and long term. But, who takes care of us? Unless you work for an amazing company the answer is simple: no one. My role was to support others in one way and expect nothing in return because my job was to do so.
After working as HRBP for some companies in different industries, I finally got the chance to work for a Microsoft Partner. That was the game-changer and one of the biggest challenges of my life. I learned how to recruit, attract, onboard, and manage tech profiles- we all know how challenging this is. Luckily for me, I was able to transition from Human Resources to Operations, as a Team Leader and D365 HR Consultant. It wasn't until that point that I realized how important is to understand and adopt a mentoring culture. In my previous roles, I was entrusted to provide support. Now, I was given the opportunity to start exchanging with people to learn and become a better professional.
When I started my journey into technology I had an amazing opportunity. I was lucky enough to start working with an almost brand-new solution: Dynamics 365 Human Resources. Most of my time during the first months was spent diving into docs and recordings, but unfortunately, the solution was so young nothing was clear. That is, until I found my first ever mentor: @MalinMartnes-an amazing person who was exploring the unknown and sharing her path. I remember being genuinely impressed by the openness from her side, sharing knowledge, opinions, and experiences. That was something I hadn't learned in any other industry. I came from the mindset where "you better keep your thoughts and experiences with you because if you share it, you lose it". I started asking her asking random questions regarding issues I faced with Dynamics 365 Human Resources, and after a lot of exchange, she became a friend. She was also the one who onboarded me into Microsoft communities and even helped me to land my first job 100% in Dynamics 365 Human Resource. Why? Because this is how this community works, it rises by lifting others.
After Malin, I was able to exchange with several people who listened to my ongoing challenges and suggest a path, a book, a podcast. People like @Dona Sarkar, or Gavriella Schuster, and also people like Vivi Fábrica. I was receiving the gift of selfless support from great human beings.
The time had come for me to start giving. I started listening to others' stories and paths, making sure I was adding value.
My mentoring lessons learned, in a nutshell:
Share your path: It may encourage others to do the same and become brave in their own way.
Own your narrative: There is nothing more inspiring than a personal story behind a journey.
Stay on both sides: Make sure that you not only receive mentoring, but also provide it. It doesn't matter your level of expertise, you can always learn and you can always teach.
Embrace the moment: Mentoring is an opportunity to build bridges with people from all over the world.
Be your true self: Your conversation will be much richer and honest.
Keep in touch: A simple supporting or catch-up message is a game-changer. Usually, I try to send my mentors and mentees a wish a week every Monday.
Spread the word: Encourage others to become mentors!
Inspire, inspire, inspire!
I want to share some questions for you as homework.
What is your uniqueness? Find what makes you a unique human being and draft your personal story.
How can it benefit others? Define the way you will make an impact in others' lives.
Who do you want to inspire? Target your audience: Identify who can take advantage of, in a good way, your insights.