Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis | Groups

Resources for Mentors
"A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself." -Oprah Winfrey
About the program

The Pam Kendall-Rijos Women's Mentor Program was established in 2008 and has connected over 200 Olin Business School students with over 60 female mentors from all industries. The program connects female students with professional women, both in the greater St. Louis area and throughout the country, who serve as role models and mentors, helping to enhance their professional and technical skills as they move towards purpose-driven careers. The mission of the Pam Kendall-Rijos Women's Mentor Program is to foster relationships between successful businesswomen and female students, complimenting their academic curriculum with exposure to the business community.

Program Structure

  • Sophomore and junior female students are paired with businesswomen from a variety of industries.
  • Female students with interest in participating in the program are required to submit an application along with a faculty or staff letter of recommendation.
  • The students are then matched with their mentor based on their areas of study, career interests, and aspirations. Participating mentors are assigned a student to work with throughout the year.
  • Students commit approximately 4-8 hours per semester to the program and must make a commitment to the program for the academic year.

Expectations of Mentors:
  • For sophomore mentors, we recommend meeting with your mentee individually at least once per semester outside of in-person Women's Mentor Program events.
  • For juniors mentees, we recommend scheduling a meeting at a minimum of twice per semester.
  • Create a comfortable learning environment for your mentee.
  • Initiate conversation about what your mentee wants to achieve through this program - the mentee will be informed and expected to initiate communication with you.
  • Constructively point out mentee behaviors or habits that may need improvement (i.e. phone or email etiquette).
  • Share tips and strategies to managing work/life balance that you have learned along the way.
  • Provide program feedback as well as any questions, comments, or concerns to the Coordinator.

FAQs for the Women's Mentor Programs:

What is a mentor?
A mentor is a trusted guide who motivates, inspires, and supports their mentees to achieve their goals and aspirations. The mentoring relationship is focused on enhancing the personal and professional development of selected students.

How are matches made?
We review each student's application to gain a better understanding of their interests and what they hope to learn. We look for similar industry interests and potential location preference. After the match is made, we will reach out to you in August with your mentee's information and application to provide you with a brief introduction of her. We will ask the student to make initial introductory contact with you.

What is my time commitment?
For the Sophomore Women's Mentor Program, the student/mentor pairs meet on campus twice per semester for events and activities, which may include speakers, mock interviews, small group discussion, site tours, and networking events. One-on-one meetings are highly encouraged outside of these activities (via Skype, email, etc.).

For the Junior Women's Mentor Program, the relationship will be conducted via email, Skype, or during academic breaks.

What can I expect from my mentoring relationship?
You can expect a student eager to learn more about you (including your experiences, successes, failures, and work/family/life balance) and your industry. You can also expect a student who is exploring career opportunities within business and learning more about her interests.

You will receive a monthly newsletter which will include program updates, current events and articles in the general business industry, recommendations for best practices in mentorship, suggested topics of discussions, and individual participant spotlights.

What can I learn from this mentorship?
Mentoring matters. The best mentorship is one in which both parties benefit. Though you will be guiding your mentee, you will likely receive some imperative lessons along the way - there is an opportunity to learn something new from every situation and individual.

What role does the mentor maintain?
Confidante, sounding board, supporter, and guide. Mentors are not expected to have or provide all of the answers. We recommend teaching your student and asking questions to help them further explore any situation they may discuss with you.

Your role is powerful in a student's eyes.
Your mentorship can assist in building your student's confidence and encourage her as a professional in the business industry.

Tips on a successful relationship with my mentee?
Building a foundation is the first step in this relationship. It is helpful to discuss expectations you have of your student and expectations your student has of you. This way, the relationship will start on the same page. We recommend being open and honest with your student by sharing your own experiences to help them learn. Having open conversations with your student is imperative in building this relationship and developing trust.

You may be the student's first professional mentor. Please be patient with your student match. If you have questions, or do not hear from or see your student for an extended period and have reached out multiple times, please contact Alana Greene.


Best Practices for Successful Mentorship:

Tips for Successful Long Distance Mentorship

Mentoring Matters: Three Essential Elements of Success

A mentoring relationship is unique. It takes intentional effort on both sides to build an effective relationship.