By Joanna de Pena

Mentorship at an early age in order to achieve success, professionally or personally is crucial.

Mentorship is significant because as an individual you can receive advice and guidance from someone whom is experienced, trusted and respected.

A mentor is there to listen and help guide you – not tell you what to do. At the end of the day, you have to make your final decisions. Remember, this is your life, mentors are for helping you gain clarity of a situation, advise you on your best next move or bounce ideas with you. Ultimately, a mentor helps you become the best version of you!

The earlier you get a mentor the better, I had my first mentor at the age of 11. By having a mentor at a young age, you are exposed to wisdom and learn leadership and professional skills early. I was exposed to scholarships, boarding high schools, colleges and opportunities to enhance my professionalism that I would not have access to otherwise.

As a college graduate, I wanted to start a business. My mentors helped and challenged my concept. They also connected me with other seasoned professionals to ask my business specific questions and advised me to visit business resource organizations to learn more such as SCORE, the small business administration and chamber of commerce.

In my recent years leading up to now I have a handful of people whom I consider my go to mentors. It is very important to establish a support system to help guide you in your life journey. It does not matter how young or old you are, we all could benefit from having someone to pick their brain, challenge our thoughts or simply just see things from a different perspective. I am 27 years old and my oldest mentor is in their 80’s, while my youngest mentor is 36 years old. When it comes to mentorship, I am a lifelong learner and seek advice from all ages because wisdom and guidance comes in all walks of life.
After you receive all the guidance you can receive and become a successful professional don’t forget one thing, give back. Now it’s your turn to be a mentor!

Joanna de Pena is the Founder and Executive Director of Top Notch Scholars, a non-profit organization focused on youth leadership, young professionals and business. De Pena is one of El Mundo Boston’s 30 Under 30 2016 recipients.

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