Hello to all the amazing women out there! My name is Amanda, and I am excited to make my Vinea debut by sharing my story. While my story is definitely still being written, I wanted to share a small piece of it with you today to exemplify the powerful things that can occur when women come together and support one another. Through my friendship with Shelby Ooten (CEO of Vinea), I was introduced to this incredible idea of bringing women together from all walks of life in order to allow us all to further our professional careers, create a reliable support system, and hopefully gain long lasting friendships in the process. Although it is a new program, just the concept of Vinea has already begun to make its impact in my life simply by making me take a step back and consider my own situation. It is no secret that women face their own unique challenges when it comes to the workplace and life in general, and I am no exception.
Through the vision of Vinea and my friendships with the team behind it, I recently found the courage to make some incredible life changes. It seemed that every time my friends and I met for brunch, a hike, a cycling class, or whatever, that we would inevitably have vent sessions about things in our lives that we were struggling with (as many girl outings tend to be like!) What I noticed was that my friends ended up being the much-needed mirror into my life that led me to question my goals, my happiness, and the things holding me back. So, as I dared to brave the uncertainty of some major career moves, we all kept thinking, “this support system is what every woman needs.” Without my friendships with these likeminded female professionals (who have truly been mentors in my life), who knows how long or IF I would have decided to make these big scary steps to a brighter and happier future for myself!? Many women (including myself) are perfectionists, people pleasers, and not willing to gamble when it comes to pursuing our dreams in fear of failing. While those attributes can sometimes be beneficial, they can also act as a double-edged sword to our future goals. The hope of a program like Vinea is to provide a vital stepping stone that all women can use to get out of their own way and better find that path to success.
Vinea is a women’s only professional organization designed to foster the growth of more women leaders in our community by giving them the tools they need to succeed personally and professionally. Vinea’s mission is empower women through mentorship. Why is mentorship important? Well, even today, in 2018, women are significantly lagging behind men in terms of professional success and influence. There are many reasons why this is the case ranging from the female self-doubt epidemic to outright gender discrimination. However, by participating in a mentor relationship, women can begin to chip away at those reasons one step at a time.
Vinea defines “mentorship” as a dynamic and fluid series of mutually beneficial relationships where someone of lesser experience gains strategic insight and direction from someone of greater experience in order to achieve certain results. Through mentorship, participants have access to individualized advice and support from those they trust and can be themselves with. Women frequently have questions about their career progression and professional development. Questions like, “Am I on the right path?”, “What skills should I hone to differentiate myself from my peers?”, “Is it time to ask for a raise?” Mentorship can provide an avenue to have these questions answered from someone who is not only more experienced or an expert in that particular topic, but also independent of the situation, and free to give unbiased advice. Think of a mentor as your own personal career coach who can help you understand your career options, help you learn or perfect certain skills, and accelerate your growth. Sounds fabulous right! So where does one find this mentor? That's where we come in.
At this point, one might be wondering how mentorship can be considered mutually beneficial? It sounds pretty one-sided with the mentor giving all the effort and the mentee reaping all the benefits. Luckily, that is not the case. By mentoring another professional, mentors refine their own leadership, active listening, and coaching skills which are essential functions of any management role. Furthermore, at Vinea we believe that becoming a mentor is the next step to being recognized as a thought leader in your field. Our one to one relationships and our group events give our mentors the opportunity to increase their visibility, polish their personal brand, and promote their business while also educating other women on something they are passionate about.
By participating in a mentor relationship, whether it be a traditional one to one match or our more flexible group-based programs, VInea participants will have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with other women and support each other’s career trajectories. Vinea’s participants have fun together, learn from one another, and challenge each other to become the best versions of themselves. At Vinea, we believe that by working together, women can bust down the glass ceiling and achieve all of their career goals.
Chief Executive Officer