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The power of mentorship

Mentorship plays an important role in helping women break through barriers and thrive in the workplace. According to research conducted by Belle Rose Ragins, reciprocal mentorships have the greatest life-long impact. In a reciprocal mentorship, both mentors and mentees learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives. The mentorship of Samantha Whorton, Transmission Line Construction Schedule Engineer, by Carey Holland, Assistant to the Technical and Project Solutions Engineering Vice President, is an example of a mutually beneficial mentor-mentee relationship on our team. 

Last month, in honor of Women’s History Month, we interviewed Whorton and Holland. They shared with us what they have learned from each other and their advice for other women in the workplace. 

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

A Mentor’s Perspective

Interviewer
What was your first job or first role in the company, Carey? 

Mentor Carey Holland
I started with APC as a Distribution Co-Op student in the Auburn Engineering office.

Interviewer
What is something you have learned from your mentee? 

Mentor Carey Holland
That you can make a positive impact on those you work with no matter your age or title. Through her actions and the way she treats others, Samantha always reminds me that kindness does not equal weakness.

Interviewer
What is something you admire about your mentee? 

Mentor Carey Holland
Samantha is one of the most genuine people I know and she truly cares about everyone she works with. It is evident almost immediately when you meet her. Samantha has the gift of bringing people together. She makes sure everyone is included and feels as though they are part of the team.

Interviewer
What is a challenge you think women still face today? 

Mentor Carey Holland
The perfectionist trap! As women, we have a tendency to set unrealistically high expectations for ourselves. When we fail to achieve our perfect standards, we become our own worst critics. We have got to learn to give ourselves grace and to transform our inner critic into our inner champion!

Interviewer
What advice would you give other women who are entering the workforce for the first time? 

Mentor Carey Holland
Be true to yourself in everything that you do. Work hard, embrace challenges, celebrate your wins, learn from criticism, but above all else, build strong relationships with your coworkers. No matter where you are in your career…You define what success means to you!

A Mentee’s Perspective

Interviewer
What was your first job or first role in the company, Samantha?

Mentee Samantha Whorton
I was a distribution engineering intern in the Centreville office. I was only 18 years old!

Interviewer
What is something you have learned from your mentor?

Mentee Samantha Whorton
I remember the first time I met Carey Holland. She wanted me to put myself out there and meet more people. Carey is always doing this herself by getting to know those around her on more than just a work level. She is friends with her coworkers and it makes the groups she is a part of better. I’ve learned that building relationships at works is a tremendous benefit to not just yourself, but to those around you and the company as a whole.

Interviewer
What is something you admire about your mentor?

Mentee Samantha Whorton
I admire how much Carey invests in young female engineers and engineering students. She is always there for them when they have questions to ask or need advice.

Interviewer
What is a challenge you think women still face today?

Mentee Samantha Whorton
Women still face the challenge of doing it all. If a woman works outside the home, she more than likely still feels the societal pressure to fulfill a woman’s traditional role while also trying to have a successful career. This is seen at an even larger scale when these women are also mothers.

Interviewer
What advice would you give other women who are entering the workforce for the first time?

Mentee Samantha Whorton
Bring your personality and interests to work and share it with others! For me, this has looked different in each office I have worked in across the company. Try to find ways to connect with your coworkers, so you can learn to trust one another and develop a great team culture.

Holland and Whorton exemplify the benefits of having women in the workplace. According to The Center for Creative Leadership's research, people of all genders profit from working in an organization with greater gender equity. Workers in companies with higher percentages of women reported having greater job satisfaction, more organizational dedication, less burnout and found their work more meaningful. Their mentor-mentee relationship is an inspiring example of how women can help each other grow and thrive at work.