In News

By Aria Everingham, WEN guest blogger

WEN has always held mentorship as a practice central to our mission. We recently hosted a webinar that highlighted the stories of three environmental professionals at different stages in their careers who have either been mentors or received mentorship (or both!). This post provides an overview of topics covered during the webinar. WEN is also working to cultivate mentor/mentee relationships within our community. Get started by filling out this mentorship interest form.


From entry-level to executive, mentorship can offer invaluable guidance for women at every career stage. However, we’re not all told what mentorship looks like: who can a mentor be, how can we reach out, and what that relationship can embody. When facing these tough questions, it’s easy to decide you’re better off figuring it out on your own, winging it until you can’t anymore. But there is a better way! Let’s break down how to find a mentor and cultivate a relationship that empowers both the mentor and mentee toward a greater purpose.

“Can it Benefit Me?” – An Overview of Mentorship

If you’re reading this, you can benefit from mentorship. Mentorship can consist of both formal and informal relationships, all with the intended goal of supporting development. It can be your professor, a colleague, or someone you meet through networking. Mentorship relationships are not one size fits all – they can change and adapt as you do with both short- and long-term horizons. What may begin as an opportunity for guidance at the start of your career could expand to answer questions about compensation, transitions, and future opportunities. Most importantly, mentorships are reciprocal and should benefit both the mentee and mentor. While a mentor may be able to open doors for a mentee that they may not be able to open themselves, a mentee can provide their mentor with a sense of fulfillment and perspective. So regardless of career stage, mentorship has something to offer for everyone.

“I’m Looking For Some Guidance” – How To Find Opportunities for Mentorship

The first step in finding a mentor is acknowledging that you need assistance. In order for a mentor to offer you solutions, you’ll need to identify what kind of help you’re looking for. Think about what questions you need answered, what spaces you are interested in exploring, and where blind spots may lie in your experience or perspective. From there, you can tell anyone and everyone you know that you’re looking for some guidance. This may look like reaching out on LinkedIn, to people within your network or a message to a new connection. Mentorship can also be cultivated within campus organizations or professional organizations – like WEN! Although putting yourself into the unknown can feel nerve-racking, the majority of people will be energized to help you. Many professionals may have benefitted from a mentor and are ready to give back to people like you.

“Would You Like To Get Coffee?” – Initiating A Mentor Relationship

Just like a first date, mentorships begin with an invitation. It’s important to come to someone with a specific ask, which is why it’s so important to identify what kind of guidance you’re looking for. Maybe you saw in their profile that they have a role you’re interested in and you can ask them about their journey to get there. Maybe you are exploring a career transition and you can ask them about options within an industry. Whatever it may be, you can utilize these questions to spark the beginning of a relationship. So that a mentor can help you best, be prepared to answer questions about what kind of information you are seeking, and do not go into a conversation blind. Researching their experience that overlaps with your goals and interests can help you find conversations that will bring about actionable answers and a shared beneficial experience.

“Where Do We Go From Here?” – Co-creating a Long-term Mentorship

Once you find someone who could grow to be your mentor, the fun part starts! A mentorship is a personal relationship based on shared goals, and the more you get to know each other, the more this relationship can grow. After you have an initial coffee chat, it’s important to stay connected and continue to engage with your mentor. This may look like sending articles that match their interests, connecting them with new people you meet, or just continuing to schedule check-ins that can grow the relationship. A full-blown mentorship may come after a series of conversations that bring about shared interest and trust.

“How Can This Be Of Service?” – Making the Most of Mentor Relationships

One thing to remember is that conversations with a mentor should excite you, rather than drag you down. We all have our own ideas regarding the best paths to success, and they don’t always align. It’s important to find someone who can serve as a sounding board for you instead of a restriction. Great mentors provide their mentee with a plethora of resources and allow them to choose the tools that best suit them. If a relationship begins to feel constrictive, like what they’re saying just isn’t resonating with you, it is okay to walk away. Be honest about what you’re looking for, be respectful about how you feel, and be open about what tactics may work for you. This could lead to a dissolving of the relationship or to a massive step of growth – which means it’s worth it!

“Let’s Tackle This Together” – Harnessing the Power of Female Mentorship

As a woman, it can feel isolating to be stuck within or even locked out of fields traditionally dominated by men. For decades, many organizations have hidden the keys to success from women by blocking paths to promotions, silencing voices of female leaders, and invalidating female experiences within the workforce. In the face of this reality, mentorship is especially important for women. Mentorship allows you to cultivate powerful spaces for resource sharing that can help turn the tide against male-centric workplaces. By utilizing mentorship to give yourself the necessary tools for success, you’re amplifying the impact you can make within your community and on the environment.


Mentorship can introduce new levels of joy, growth, confidence, and comradery to a career that are difficult to generate in isolation. Asking for guidance may feel out of your comfort zone, but it is worth it. 


WEN provides ongoing mentorship resources and opportunities. Get started by filling out this mentorship interest form. You can also connect with the WEN community by joining our Slack channel where we share events, job opportunities, and other resources on these channels.