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Making the Most of In-House Mentoring Relationships with Anna Hartog, Associate General Counsel at Edward Jones

Women's Initiative Newsletter

Can you tell us about the attributes of the most successful relationships you've participated in as mentor or mentee?

There should be a manageable universe of clear objectives, in the range of one to three, identifying what the mentor and mentee hope to get out of the relationship. For example, one objective might be building relationships with certain stakeholders in the organization. Another objective might be practicing a certain skill or competency that is key for the mentee's role.

What is the best advice you received from a mentor?

Early in my career, a mentor at my law firm took me aside and told me that I would need to be a steward for my own career. What he meant is that career development and progression don't happen by accident. He encouraged me to be intentional in thinking about my own professional development and goals, and not to be afraid to speak up about my goals. In essence, the advice was not to wait for someone to tap me on the shoulder, but instead, to self-advocate respectfully for development and career opportunities.

How do you think mentoring relationships differ once you are in-house?

In private law practice, there is one path of career progression from associate to partner, and most mentor relationships are between an associate and partner. In corporate environments, there are a myriad of developmental and career paths that an in-house lawyer might take, and it often makes sense to seek out mentoring relationships with individuals who aren't lawyers and who don't sit in the Legal Department. Having a non-attorney mentor who sits outside Legal can offer a different perspective that can assist the attorney in his/her current role and may also lead to creative thinking about developmental opportunities or career paths that an attorney had not considered previously. For those who are in-house, it is worthwhile to explore the mentoring programs your organization has outside of the Legal Department.

If you serve as a mentor, how did that relationship originate?

I am currently mentoring a junior attorney at one of our outside firms through a formal mentoring arrangement. In addition to clearly defined objectives for the relationship, my mentee has valued having access to an in-house attorney as she works to develop her client development and relationship skills.

How have your mentors helped to shape your career path?

I have had the good fortune to have mentoring relationships evolve into sponsorship/advocacy. While this is not the goal of a mentoring relationship, it can develop organically in a way that really benefits the mentee.

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