If you’ve ever wondered how to find or become a life-changing mentor - this session is for you!
Pat Heller led this stellar conversation with Aisha Allen, Lupe Ruiz, and Natalie Leon.
These leaders all share their stories about how mentors have supported them in their growth, how working with the right mentor has propelled them both in career and life, and each gave tips on how to find, prepare for, and work best with your next mentor!
Highlights from this chat...
Meet our amazing panel:
Aisha Allen: I am a Realtor with the Brokerage Brown and Brown Real Estate. I am very active in the Real Estate industry and have a servant-heart. My servitude includes participation with the Woman's Council of Realtors. Currently, I serve Locally as President-Elect, On the State level, I serve as Strategic Partner Chair. I am a Co-Founder and 1st Vice President of Realtist of Fresno County. Under the Fresno Association of Realtors, I’m Chair of the newly founded Diversity Committee, I am a part of the YPN Committee as WakeUp Coordinator, as well as a part of the Education Committee. Although it has not been said I like to believe Sara and Deborah have a little something to do with me also being a WomanUp Wavemaker, my participation with the C.A.R. Latin(x) Professionals network, as well as being asked to be a Spokesperson for Launch of the C.A.R. https://www.bringyourfamilyhome.com campaign.
Lupe Ruiz: I am the Broker owner of HomeShield Real Estate, a boutique brokerage in Ontario, CA certified as a woman and minority-owned business. I have been in the business since 2005. I am a producing broker and serve the Inland Empire, San Gabriel Valley and High Desert areas. In addition to being certified in probate and seniors real estate, I am certified as a Buffini & Company mentor, and I am an Ambassador of the National Latina Business Women Association - Inland Empire.
Let’s talk about your experience with mentors. How many do you have now? What are they mentoring you on?
Lupe: I began my business in a challenging market, especially for newer agents. It was an overwhelming experience as a new agent, but I had a team leader who took the time to continuously meet with me and was always available when I would have issues with a transaction. She not only mentored me on the business aspect but also on how to balance work and personal life. To this day, we still keep in touch. I consider her my friend. When I became an independent broker, I had a lot of questions and wondered if I was doing things right. I had tried connecting with other independent brokers who had a brokerage longer than me, but didn’t receive reciprocity. So, I signed up for the WomanUP!’s mentorship program. This is when I met my current mentor. She has mentored me in the operations of a brokerage and the importance of getting involved. She graciously has shared her knowledge and best practices on how to run an independent brokerage. I also have mentors who have guided me through my spiritual and personal life. In my case, they’ve been women older than me whom I know I can go to when I need their advice. In addition to having mentors, I also have a coach who helps me in my personal and professional goals. This helps me be accountable for my goals.
Aisha: I feel that my journey into the World of Real Estate was all in good timing and appreciate my good Friend Carla Baron for encouraging me to become a REALTOR ® . I began to receive mentorship even before I became Licensed. I joined Brown and Brown Real Estate in the role of Client Success Manager under the guidance and Mentorship of the Super Fantastic Broker and fellow wavemaker Sabrina Brown! She advocates for continued education and that we find other ways to be involved which steered me in the direction of the Woman's Council. I am currently under the Mentorship of Natalie Leon who is helping me to prepare for the role of Local President which begins November 14th. Lionel Akpovi who leads as President of Realtist of Fresno County has also been a mentor for me as we cultivated and developed Realtist of Fresno County.
Natalie, you are in a season of being a mentor and being mentored… share a bit about how you navigate both.
Natalie: Being clear on your boundaries for the commitments that you have is a great start. This allows you to be mindful of the time you have set for your work, for yourself & others. Treating your mentor sessions like a doctor appt that you don’t want to miss has also been helpful for me. What I’ve learned is that mentoring doesn’t have to look like a coaching session, it can be just asking someone to come alongside you during an appointment or sit with you at an event to allow them to “sit at your table” can help in a deep way as well. Sometimes it’s not adding more work to your calendar, it’s allowing others to participate with you in the journey. People may not remember who you are, but they will remember how you treated them.
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What was the most memorable, pivotal moment or situation that changed your progress or direction as a result of mentoring?
Lupe: In 2013, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. By this time, I had already switched to a different brokerage but had kept in touch with my previous team leader. She told me one thing that I still remember: as much as I should provide good customer service to my clients, my priority is my health and my family because at the end of day, my clients will just go look for another agent if I am gone. So, I slowed down to cut back on stress and when I was ready to come back, I went back to school to get my master’s degree and instead of going back to being a broker associate, I chose to be an independent broker so I could produce and grow at my own pace. It’s currently me and two other agents in my small brokerage. Her advice helped me look at my business with a different perspective and understand that it was okay to scale back temporarily so I could reset and focus on getting better and having balance.
Natalie: Such great advice! Mine is something similar. The Broker/Owner of Modern Broker, Preston Miller had a much needed, difficult conversation with me as I was looking to make a choice in the direction that I wanted to go with my leadership journey. I had a couple of options and was torn on how to move forward. His message to me was to continue to be true to my values & don’t compromise those for anyone, including myself. Having support from a mentor that reminds you to keep the things that are most important to you, in front of you, is everything.
And, the very first WomanUP! Conference was pretty pivotal for me as well. Finding people that literally reached out to ask how they could help me thrive (not just survive this industry) was like the clouds opening up. I knew that I had found my people & wanted to be a part of that.
Aisha: There are a few times that I can think of where my direction has taken a turn. When I think of it one of the most memorable moments was when I first joined the Brown and Brown office. As a mentor and Broker Sabrina had developed a culture in the office that was very positive and vibe driven. She had created a “Safe Space” for us to learn and grow in. I was completely able to take down my walls and be transparent with my insecurities and share my strengths. My feelings were respected, validated, felt seen and heard. When I realized this I had an emotional downpour. I let myself cry for a minute and just sit with appreciation for the space to grow and be myself. I knew that there were others out there that also needed spaces that were safe which has transitioned into creating spaces like this in YPN as well as Women’s Council.
What guidance would you have for someone listening that is feeling stuck due to all that is going on this year and needing a boost to get in motion again? How do they find a mentor?
Aisha: Stuck happens! Especially in circumstances like what we have been experiencing since March of 2020. Our whole lives have been turned around that have shifted our focus to other areas we never had to consider before. Take some self love time, nurture yourself, look back at your growth to remember how far you have come. Allow yourself some time to do the things you love and that make you happy. Then find spaces to plug into that can help pull you out of the stuck examples: Podcast, Books/Audiobooks, Mastermind groups, WOMANUP!!!!!, Conferences. Don’t allow yourself to have an excuse to stay stuck.
Lupe: Don’t give up. You are stronger than you think and your hard work will eventually pay off. Keep a growth mindset by being open to change and learning new things. Find a mentor who is passionate about helping others and who you can relate to. Perhaps, someone who is in the same niche or same interests. You could go through the WomenUp mentorship program, join a local community organization that provides resources and guidance, network with other more experienced agents whom you admire and would like to learn from..
Natalie: Reach out. Think of 2 people that you admire in this industry. Ask if you could have a few minutes in the next week or two to talk about something you would love their mentorship with. I’d suggest that you be specific in what you’re looking for help with. Most people genuinely want to help others. Join the WomanUP!® Mentor Program to see if there is a mentor that you might connect with. It’s good to get a couple of perspectives or people that you consult with. Keep reaching out to people that are already in the positions that you want to be in. Never stop looking for mentors. WomanUP! Has some great podcasts that are motivational as well. And, make time for yourself to soak in the healthy & loving things you need to be doing for yourself. This will help you get unstuck.
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What advice do you have for those who are or want to be mentors? What has helped you the most during your mentor-mentee meetings?
Lupe: Empowering others can be a rewarding experience. I believe it is like a domino effect. Those people you are mentoring will then teach others and the difference you are making in one person will impact others as well. Sometimes, mentees just need some direction to have clarity and focus on what they would like to achieve. The generosity of others sharing their knowledge and experience with me has encouraged me to continue to grow and help empower others as well.
Aisha: Give grace. Give grace to yourself and give grace to those learning from you. As a person receiving mentorship, be open minded, allow yourself the space and time to absorb the information to figure out what will work for you, and to decide how to implement it in your business. Change doesn't happen overnight. It can take anywhere from 18 to 66 days on average to form a new habit and for it to become automatic. So know that growth takes time and work but if you stay diligent you will see the fruits of your labor.
Natalie - what would you like mentees to know about preparing for their mentor meetings?
Natalie: Be on time, Don’t cancel or reschedule unless it’s something that you can’t change.
Have a list that you’ve emailed ahead of time to your mentor of what you are looking for direction with so they can prepare for your meeting.
Take lots of notes like your career depended on it.
Stay focused and on topic so you can get the most from your appointment
Be positive/grateful for their time.
At the next meeting, share what you implemented from the last session & the results.
Any closing thoughts or words of wisdom for us all?
Aisha: Love yourself first! Don’t work so hard to find work life balance instead find a work life harmony that you can groove to. A few books that I like to get unstuck are - The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, The Atomic Habits by James Clear, and You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Looking back at the past is helpful when preparing for the future… However, don’t forget to live in the present.
Lupe: Seek to be mentored but also look to pay it back by mentoring others. Be generous and lift others by sharing your experience and knowledge with others who want to grow and learn from you. A couple of short books I’ve enjoyed reading for both mentors and mentees are Mentoring 101 with John C. Maxwell and One-Minute Mentoring with Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz.
Natalie: Don’t forget to take care of yourself. You know the whole flight attendant thing.
Even if it’s something small each week to allow your soultank to get a refill. Book: Jeffrey Gitomer - The Sales Bible. He has the Little Red Book of Selling & Little Black Book of Connections and others that are great, too. I also still like Brene Brown & her direct approach to everything.
Pat: Gratitude. We are all perfectly imperfect.
Favorite books mentioned
Natalie: Book: Jeffrey Gitomer - "The Sales Bible"
Aisha: Book: The Alchemist
Aisha: Atomic Habits
Lupe: Mentoring 101
Aisha: You are a Badass...
Lupe: One-Minute Mentoring
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