Women’s Giving Circle to host free mentor workshop May 7

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

NILES — A good mentor can offer more than sage advice.

Just like Yoda in “Star Wars” and Professor Dumbledore in “Harry Potter,” showed viewers in pop culture, a mentor can help people overcome challenges, provide perspective and encourage a person to be their best self.

Minus the magic wands and light sabers, the Berrien Community Foundation’s The Women’s Giving Circle is hoping to encourage more women to learn leadership skills that can give them the tools to become a mentor to others.

The Mentoring Success Workshop will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 7 at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA. The event is free and open to all women to attend. Lunch and free childcare will also be available at the event. Those interested, must register for the event at berriencommunity.org/mentor or call (269) 983-3304.

The event will include the opportunity to learn trade secrets in mentoring from Natalie Siston, a certified, professional coach and award-winning speaker.

Susan Matheny, program manager for the Berrien Community Foundation, said the goal of the event is to help empower local women.

“We wanted to spread that message of: women can and should empower each other and build each other up and help each other,” Matheny said. “Most women do, but we wanted them to be able to identify when they have a mentoring opportunity in front of them.”

Lisa Cripps-Downey, the president of the Berrien Community Foundation, emphasized that all women have the power to become a mentor to someone in their lives.

“This is [for] women from all stages of life,” Cripps-Downey said. “Sometimes, I think we think, ‘I can’t be a mentor, because I haven’t started my own business and I’m not a CEO.’”

Cripps-Downey said she hopes the workshop encourages to take notice of what they have achieved in their lives and leave with the tool set to give others a boost to succeed on their own.

In addition to listening to Siston speak, those who take part in the workshop will also participate in hands-on activities. Participants will also get the chance to set up a variety of mentorship goals and check in with the Berrien County Community Foundation.

Cripps-Downey and Matheny said the workshop could also be a benefit to those looking to bolster their career. The skills learned could help them to be a better leader at work or something they could list on a job evaluation.  Additionally, they said that helping others is often its own reward.

“When you think of mentoring, it is one of those great things,” Matheny said. “It is one of those value-added properties that costs no one anything. It’s free and yet, it is invaluable. I think there is something really specially about saying, ‘I have a priceless commodity that I can hand out.’”

Cripps-Downey said she would encourage any woman to attend and learn to be the best mentor they can be. After all, they do not have to be a 900-year-old Jedi or have magic powers to share their wisdom.

“Whether it’s becoming a parent, finding your first job or becoming a CEO, we all have something to offer,” Cripps-Downey said.