Leadership Insights: How to Find a Mentor

working moms good for kids

When it comes to being a leader, success isn't just having the right answers, but knowing when and who to go to for help.

For that you need a mentor. As Mary Lou Burke Afonso, the COO of Bright Horizons' North American center operations, wrote recently on FORTUNE:

"I have been fortunate to always have a mentor by my side in my case, a female who I respected and admired for what she was able to accomplish both at work and in her personal life."  

Tips for How to Find a Mentor

For Mary Lou, the subject is personal. She wrote about it as one of the leadership voices on FORTUNE's MPW Insider, answering the question, "How do you find a mentor?"

Coming up through the ranks before the days of flex-time and work/life balance, the Bright Horizons COO described being in little-traveled territory and needing someone to show her how to manage the characteristic guilt of the work/parent tug-of-war.

"Through countless conversations with my mentor, she helped me overcome this guilt she supported me and showed me it was possible to be successful in both my professional and personal lives, and that it was okay that sometimes one had to (and should) take precedence over the other."

What it Takes to Achieve Success

Many people, wrote Mary Lou  and women in particular  don't avail themselves of mentors, equating independence with "doing it all." But knowing when to seek help is a strength.

"Being able to achieve success in both your professional and personal lives sometimes means not doing it all. It means adjusting day-to-day or week-to-week depending on what is happening in your life. And sometimes it means asking for help from the team you have built around you your spouse, extended family, or employees."

Mary Lou shared her insights on having and being - a mentor and offered tips for today's young professionals about what to look for in a mentor...and how to find one.

"Being able to achieve success in both your professional and personal lives sometimes means not doing it all."

Read "4 Tips to Help You Find a Great Mentor" in its entirety here.  

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

Bright Horizons logo on yellow background

The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.