An Intro to Mentorship: 5 Traits You Need to Succeed as a Mentor or Mentee and Other Top Advice

Sponsored by Delta Dental Ins

Yoriko Hayes. Photo courtesy of Delta Dental Insurance Company.

Yoriko Hayes. Photo courtesy of Delta Dental Insurance Company.

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July 20, 2024 at 4:45PM UTC

Considering joining a mentorship program but unsure if having a mentor (or becoming a mentor) is right for you? Yoriko Hayes, an Assistant General Counsel at Delta Dental Insurance Company, would suggest that you take this plunge — “I encourage other professionals to get involved and give back,” she states.

Hayes has been part of Delta Dental Ins.’s Legal Department for 17 years, and has found herself growing at the company throughout this time. “The Legal team I work with are a great group of people,” she tells us. “They’re a smart, fun, and interesting group.”

Outside of this group, Hayes also co-led the Women@ Delta Dental inclusion community — which launched an innovative mentorship program that Hayes participated in!  This six-month program was a “truly rewarding experience,” Hayes recalls. “I matched with an employee who had been with the company for 26 years.” 

Hayes and her mentorship partner connected regularly and formed a trusted bond. In fact, Hayes tells us that her favorite part of the program is the genuine connection the two made. “I learned so much about this person’s resilience and dedication,” Hayes shares. “Her life experiences motivated and inspired me.”

And, even after the program ended, Hayes and her mentorship partner still connect and check in with each other — highlighting how the benefits of mentorship don’t end when a program ends!

Here, Hayes tells us more about the benefits of mentorship, her best advice for succeeding as a mentor or mentee, and what the top things she learned during the program were!

How has having a mentor enriched your own work experience and helped you grow your career?

As a people manager, it’s been valuable to see a person grow and develop through their mentorship connection.

What are the top 5 traits that you think a good mentor should have?

  1. Curiosity

  2. Self-awareness

  3. Reliability

  4. Authenticity

  5. Empathy

On the other hand, what traits should a mentee have to make the most of their mentorship experience?

  1. Self-awareness

  2. Reliability

  3. Time management

  4. Authenticity

  5. Courage

What advice would you give someone hoping to make the best of a mentor-mentee relationship?

Your time together as mentor and mentee is limited — make the most of it

Finally, what are the top things you learned through your participation in this mentorship program?

I would say these are my top five, in no particular order, are: 

  1. Mentors can gain valuable insights from their mentees. It’s not just the other way around.

  2. Sometimes, it’s important to just listen. That’s it. Really hear the other person, and don’t try to find a solution. 

  3. Establishing expectations and setting up trust from the start is key to a successful connection between a mentor and mentee. 

  4. Have fun. Learn and laugh with your mentee. No need to take it all so seriously.   

  5. Empathize. We were all there once.

According to Hayes, her mentorship experience truly embodies the values of Delta Dental Insurance Company, which are trust, service, excellence, and innovation. "It’s truly an amazing place where I work,” she shares! If you’d like to join her at this great workplace, click the link below.

Fairygodboss is proud to partner with Delta Dental Insurance Company. Find a job there today!

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