Mentoring and Relying on the Kindness of Strangers Advanced My Career

Career Development

Fleurs de Prairie
This post is brought to you by Fleurs de Prairie.
This message is intended for those 21+
Photo by Chelsey Werth

How did you get started? 

This was the first question I would ask when I would attend informational interviews (after their coffee order, of course). When I was first starting, I hadn’t the foggiest idea of how anyone got anywhere. I had imagined my career going in a straight line from point A to point B. I envisioned moving along in an upward trajectory until I MADE IT.

How wrong I was. 

My path, like so many of us, has a meandering, side-to-side (and at times backward) trajectory. Two steps forward, three steps back.

Photo by Nicole Feest at NYLONSADDLE Photography

When I was looking to change careers, I relied heavily on the kindness of friends, peers, and the more extensive network of LinkedIn 2nd-degree and 3rd-degree connections. I would reach out earnestly, requesting coffee and thirty minutes from friends of friends, or coworkers who “knew someone” I should talk with. Looking back, I can’t thank these professionals enough for sharing their wisdom and, more importantly, their time with me. 

It’s sometimes strange to realize that time has gone by, and now I’m the one sought after for advice. The question “How did you get here?” is now asked of me, and I’m not entirely sure what to say. Hard work? Determination? Right place, right time? Blind luck? All are true, but how does this information or my experience contribute to the next round of talent that is emerging? 

Through various mentoring programs I’ve participated in the past, I’ve learned that there are no real pearls of wisdom to give. There is no secret to success, at least none that I have found, save for opportunity.

Photo by Nicole Feest at NYLONSADDLE Photography

I’m working with Fleurs de Prairie rosé on just that—an opportunity for three female-owned small businesses, through the Fleurs de Prairie Seeds of Beauty campaign. Fleurs de Prairie is on a mission to help make the world a more beautiful place, championing those who inspire others to #FleurishTogether with their second annual Seeds of Beauty Campaign. The campaign aims to celebrate female creatives and entrepreneurs by providing financial support and mentorship to women who are making a positive impact and turning their passions into full-time endeavors.

Photo by Nicole Feest at NYLONSADDLE Photography

Female-owned small businesses can apply for seed grants of $5,000 by illustrating what their business is and how they spread beauty in their own unique way. In addition to this seed money, Fleurs de Prairie is offering a one-on-one mentorship program featuring Grace Atwood of The Stripe and Bad on Paper podcast, Hayet Rida of HayetRida.com and The Rida Collective, and yours truly.

Photograph by Chelsey Werth

Fleurs de Prairie invites creators and artisans to apply for Seed Grants by illustrating what their passions are, how they spread beauty in their own unique way, and how they plan to use the seed money to help grow their business. Entrants are encouraged to share their goals for their business and how the $5,000 grant would help them in achieving these goals.

Photo by Nicole Feest at NYLONSADDLE Photography

Even as I’m in a position to mentor and give advice, I still reach out to talk with those who can share their experiences. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning or listening to the advice from those who have come before me (or after me, for that matter). I encourage you to look for opportunities to be a mentor in your community and to share your wisdom and experience.

Are you a female-identifying creative or small-business owner who could use seed money to flourish? Or do you know someone who is? Learn more about the Seeds of Beauty Campaign here

Be sure to check back in October when we announce the winners of the grant!


*Additional submittal information: The contest is open to legal U.S. residents of the 48 Contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 21 years of age or older at time of entry. The Seeds of Beauty entry period is from Monday, June 22, 2020, until 11:59:59 PM ET on Monday, August 31, 2020. Read the official rules and learn more about the Seeds of Beauty Campaign here.


Editor’s Note: This post was sponsored by Fleurs de Prairie. The compensation we receive in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post, and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.

While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow us to continue to develop dynamic unsponsored content. Thank you for supporting our partners!

BY Kate Arends - July 7, 2020

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