Growing with GROW
Kristine Darling, Energy Northwest


By: Kristine Darling


When I applied for the Growth, Relationships, and Opportunities through WIN (GROW) program in the U.S. WIN pilot year, I thought mentoring was just a simple word. I didn’t realize the impact mentoring could have on me as a new professional in the nuclear industry. My experience with GROW turned me into a person to confide in, it pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and most importantly it turned my mentor into my friend.

When I embarked in the GROW program, I thought it would grow my knowledge and help me be more successful in the nuclear industry. While I accomplished a lot of that, my mentor also helped me understand what I am capable of. She invested in my success and provided me with exercises to become a more confident individual. One of the larger areas we tackled in our conversations was work-life balance. She encouraged me to spend time away from work doing things that I enjoy, or better yet, finding new things to help me relax and enjoy life. She encouraged me and challenged me to not always focus on work, but rather take the time to focus on me. I learned that when I took the time to focus on me outside of work, my work productivity and focus increased and I evolved into a better worker.

Everyone gets something different out of mentoring. For me, GROW was a launching pad to help me strive to be a better person and a better colleague. When I reflect on the year-long mentorship, I’m a better person for me. I encourage everyone to have at least one mentor, if not more. Mentors serve mentees in different ways and different purposes. I encourage U.S. WIN members to take advantage of the mentorship program through GROW.

GROW is one avenue to connect with another nuclear professional at a different experience level to share lessons learned and set professional goals. The purpose of the program is to provide personal development, building a learning culture, build connections and community within the mentoring network, develop leadership skills, support diversity and inclusivity and develop self-confidence and self-awareness.