When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided to change careers and use my experience to teach Marketing and Business at the high school level. The new job would give me the ability to spend more time at home, especially during the summer. My mom had been an English teacher for 30 years and seemed to love it, so maybe it would work for me. At 27 years old, I was teaching freshman through seniors. My classroom was next door to a much more tenured and overall amazing teacher named Connie.
As a brand-new teacher, I struggled to get the hang of the lesson plans, the grading process, the skills testing etc., but Connie was so kind and helpful. She showed me the ropes and never once made me feel like a burden. She offered help when I needed it, explained things I didn’t understand and became a great friend and mentor.
After I had my daughter, I decided to stay home but she and I remained in touch. In fact, 5 years later, when I returned to the workforce and took a marketing job with a local corporation, I was able to return the favor. The company was looking for a Training Manager and Connie was looking to move beyond teaching. I quickly shared her name with the hiring manager, and she was scheduled for an interview. She got the job and became one of our very best trainers. People loved her!
Through that relationship and experience, I learned several leadership lessons.
- Don’t allow fear or a lack of experience to stop you from trying something new.
- There are good people in this world that will help you figure it out.
- Be a mentor to those around you who might be new in their role or struggling to learn a new skill. The trust and loyalty that’s built in those moments will be forever appreciated.
- Never forget the people who helped get you where you are today, and when you have the chance, repay the favor.
- The relationships we have at work can positively impact the way we feel about an organization’s culture.