5. Always find your mentor.
“Always find your mentor. Always be on the lookout for that person. It changes over your entire career span. As you mature in your career path, it moves from being a mentor position to a sponsor position. It’s always important to look for that person who can personally help you guide your career, but also sponsor you for jobs in other areas,” said Messa.
You should find your mentors among people you already know. They should be able to gauge your potential without having to search for it, according to a 2014 Forbes article about how to find a great mentor. While it’s not ideal to just ask for a mentorship, a mentee could follow the work of a potential mentor to make themselves more known.
“Lillian Yin [now-deceased FDA division director] practically pushed me out of her organization and, in her own words, she had to make me go do bigger things. So, she was very much a woman that pushed me and made me go hard. So, that just started my experience with very successful and strong women. And when I asked her years later how I could repay her for all that she had done for me, she said always help other women be successful. And I remember she said don’t ever hold other women back. It’s always ‘push them forward’ because we owe it to each other. And I took that very seriously,” said Howell.
Also, if you want to find a mentor, you should put yourself in the potential mentor’s shoes.
“I honored Dr. Yin’s request by championing a leadership development program at that time and a mentoring program and serving as mentors for many young women and helping them develop their leadership pathway both inside and outside of FDA,” said Howell.