As National Mentorship Month comes to an end, I want to take this opportunity to express my support for the millions of people across the country who are mentors as well as encourage others to see the impact they can make by becoming a mentor. 

Reaching For Our Limits

Photo: IV recently led a hands-on science workshop with Expanding Your Horizons for Bellevue, WA students 

Mentorship has the power to help a person see what is possible and steers them toward the fullness of their potential.

While we celebrate new discoveries and leaps forward in science, we should also think about where we could be and what frontiers we might cross if we do a better job of encouraging girls and young women to pursue STEM-minded fields.

As president and COO of Intellectual Ventures, a company that promotes and depends upon innovative people, I am acutely aware of how women in STEM fields have contributed to the growth of innovation. As mentors, it is important to be aware of the challenges that girls often face in STEM fields. By addressing these distractions head on, we can better prepare them to overcome issues and help ensure they are contributing to the intellectual capacity that is devoted to invention, progress, and science.

This is a topic that I am passionate about, and I’ll take it as an opportunity to showcase the significance that mentorship can have, particularly for encouraging girls to pursue STEM educations and careers. I can personally attest to the importance of mentorship and the impact that mentors have had in shaping my life.

Early in my career, I had the opportunity to build a mentoring relationship with Astrid Brown, a department head in manufacturing at Corning, which was a non-traditional role for a woman. At some point, we began discussing my possible career paths. She helped open my eyes to my own potential as a leader, which was a pivotal moment for me as she was able to see something powerful in me that I had no basis to recognize in myself.

For every girl that is born, there is potential for her to create the next revolutionary invention that will progress the world onto an entirely new path, and mentors have an opportunity to help encourage the next generation of girls to open their eyes to their own power to achieve great things.

When that happens, when we as a country and a world actively encourage everyone to reach toward their limits and potential, we will more fully see what humanity is capable of achieving. 


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