This month, we asked one of our GROW mentor-mentee pairs to share their experience in the program. This article features the Mentor, Donna Phillbeck’s perspective. Check out this link to read the mentee’s perspective.
I am Donna Philbeck, currently working at EnergySolutions as Waste Estimator, and I am a U.S. WIN Mentor! I decided to be a part of the GROW Mentoring Program so I could help someone develop their career or at least give guidance in challenges they are facing in their work world. There have been many times in my 25-year career I didn’t have that person I could go to for any kind of advice or support, and I remember sometimes feeling frustrated, alone and lost.
My mentee is TeShania Bey (see her story linked above), a Generator Certification Official in Waste Management at Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC, approximately 2 hours south of where I live near Charlotte, NC. I don’t know the recipe GROW leadership uses to pair people, but they could not have done a better job pairing the two of us. Our first phone call was energetic to say the least. I think the happier and more excited she got, the more excited I got! We emerged from this meeting with action items, goals, and pre-determined meetings. We decided we have BIG plans for her.
In December, I was privileged enough to receive an invitation from TeShania to attend her company’s U.S. WIN Christmas party and meet her in person. I went! The U.S. WIN group at Savannah River is amazing and I appreciate them welcoming both my daughter and me. It was a thrill to meet my mentee in person and I think it helped amplify our energy. We will meet in person again, TeShania! I’m not finished with you!
Our relationship is a two-way street. She doesn’t know it, but her energy, thirst for learning and striving to be the best she can be are contagious to the point where I have found myself reviewing my own career and life goals as well as getting out and doing things. I’ve seen TeShania transform from someone frustrated to someone whose rally cry is now “No, I won’t!” and “Yes! Yes, I will accept the opportunity!” To date, everything I suggested as action items, TeShania followed through and completed, and sometimes in shocking fashion, example being I suggested she bring her career to her community schools and talk about it. She had the opportunity to participate in a round table event with the president of her company which resulted in her speaking at Claflin University with him! “Yes! Yes, I will!”
I hope that our experience inspires others to be a mentor or mentee. I am fulfilled knowing I have been able to help TeShania and have developed a friend for life. We both now have each other to look to for advice, direction, network opportunities, developing goals and overcoming challenges that prevent us from growing. We will always have new challenges to work through but now, at least we have each other.