The Importance of Mentorship

By: Pam Barker, RELIA Solutions

Andi Grantham…Ken Urban…Lena Spencer…Billie Swisher

These are some of the people we lost this year…

Ask anyone who ever met or knew any of these fine people and you will see the full power and importance of mentorship.

First things first – What is a mentor?


· A mentor may share with a mentee information about his or her own career path as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support and role modeling. A mentor may help with setting goals, developing contacts and identifying resources.

The path that a mentor has blazed paves the way for your own journey. A mentor is key to career success. They can serve as a sounding board for career advice. They are a myriad of information which could be a great help to you when troubleshooting lab issues. Last but certainly not least, they are a great source for a professional reference.

When I did my research for this subject I went to your peers and this is what I found. When asked about the importance of mentoring and being mentored nearly everyone who responded said they were inspired, informed and guided by a mentor or several mentors. I found that mentoring comes from people of all ages (meaning older, younger or the same age, as the mentee). Your fellow histopeeps found their mentors among peers, supervisors, subordinates, teachers, friends, coworkers, a vendor rep.

You might ask, how do get a mentor? All you have to do is ask. Most consider it an honor, and/or a privilege. Find someone you look up to or ask yourself who’s role would I like to be in 5 years from now – there’s your mentor.

Here are some ideas for sources of mentors:

Interested in Sales – Connect with a vendor rep. Try reaching out to your contacts at the vendors who supply your lab’s equipment and reagents.

Interested in specific area of histology? Connect with someone in that area. NSH’s member community, The Block, is a great place to locate fellow members who specialize in clinical, research, biotech, grossing, Mohs, IHC, or whatever area interests you. Talk to people in your lab in these departments or visit a nearby lab that has these divisions if yours does not.

Research shows that the best sources for mentors and mentees are professional networking associations, because they provide exposure on a global scale to people in all aspects of your profession from all over the world.

How about being a mentor? Have you considered it?

Why become a mentor? There are several reasons. There is the gratification of watching your mentee succeed. Believe it or not you know more than you think you do and people want to hear what you have to say. And finally, it is an opportunity to hone your leadership skills.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the mentors we have lost in the last year:

Andi Grantham

Ken Urban

Lena Spencer

Billie Swisher

One way these people impacted so many histology professionals was through the NSH. The people who had the good fortune of being under their mentorship are ready to mentor the next generation. I believe that would have greatly pleased these mentors.

THE NSH offers many opportunities for mentoring and mentorship.

1. Peer to peer networking with fellow members who are eager to pass the torch and share their knowledge and experience.

2. A private members only community, The Block, where you can ask and answer all things histology and beyond. You are connecting with histotechnology professionals from all over the world.

3. Professional and personal friendships for life. That’s where the best mentoring relationships come from.

I truly value all of my mentors and mentees and hope you will too.

Click here to learn more about becoming an NSH member.

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