INDIANAPOLIS — There is no one more passionate about the power of a good mentor than Alison Martin.
The Founder and CEO of Engage Mentoring reflects on her career and her start in life and says she wouldn't be where she is today without the people who helped her get here.
"I literally wouldn't be here today if it weren't for incredible people who saw my potential and really poured into me," Martin said. "I was out on my own and emancipated at 17 and became a single mom at 18."
But even with a challenging start into the real world, Martin said she saw the value in giving back.
"We can all do a better job of lifting up the next generation and really helping them get ahead."
That's why she created her company Engage Mentoring.
"And what we do is we partner with non profits and companies to help students access qualified mentors in the business community and help the companies access a diverse talent pipeline."
It is a win-win for both the mentor and the mentee.
Students and young professionals just beginning their careers can get easy access to a wide variety of experts on a wide range of topics. Mentors can give back and build their own skills as leaders.
"I would argue there's no better way to learn how to be a leader than to effectively mentor others," Martin said.
The companies and nonprofits who serve as her clients benefit as well. The young professionals seeking guidance and various fields and diverse, eager and can be great prospective employees for industries looking to hire in a worker shortage.
Plus, the online system that makes the mentorship connections can expose young professionals to a greater variety of mentors and backgrounds so the chance of making a connection is even greater.
That is something Robert Beltz is passionate about as he serves as a mentor through Engage Mentoring.
"A great mentor can come from all walks of life, but there is something transformational when you do have somebody that has such a shared experience," Beltz said.
"Coming up through my career, naturally most of my mentors have been women. It was always easy to look up and see plenty of leaders, male leaders, that looked like me but didn't identify as me. So there was always this natural hesitation or this natural barrier."
But as the coordinator for the new Pride Leadership initiative through Engage Mentoring, Beltz says he hopes to break down some of those barriers for people like him in the workforce. He says looking back on his career, he credits a mentor with really guiding him to where he is today.
"I took a job at the Ritz Carlton and it was the first time I had a gay male mentor," Beltz explained. "I was finally able to see a path."
For some mentees, that path forward is an open doorway to a career opportunity.
Mario Flores-Gaspar is a 21st Century Scholar, which is a group given free access to mentorship through Engage Mentoring.
He took a chance getting on the platform and connected with a mentor who helped him get an internship at Counterpart, a software consulting company.
Now he works as a project management intern.
"I've been sitting in on client meetings and trying to be a sponge honestly," Flores-Gaspar said.
He credits that mentee-mentor relationship for helping him get his foot in the door and he says he is thankful for that guidance and opportunity.
"Mentors are very helpful. They are game changers. It's like, imagine a lifetime of experience that you don't get to see and then they get to share it with you," he said. "It's like your aspirations and your potential with the potential that they've already lived out."
To become a mentor with Engage Mentoring or to connect with a mentor, visit EngageMentoring.com.
WRTV would like to congratulate Alison Martin on being a Jefferson Award Winner for Multiplying Good.