I work for a company that is supportive and proud of its culture of mentoring. I am lucky that in my role I get to view closely the fruits of mentoring and how these relationships positively impact both mentees and mentors while building a diverse pipeline, and engaging and retaining employees at all levels.
But, it’s a mentoring program outside of work that provides a great source of inspiration for me. BEST Kids, an organization in the District of Columbia promotes better futures through mentoring for the youth in child welfare system. They believe, as I do, that potential resides in all of us; and that we must nurture, encourage and develop it. The mentors at BEST Kids are carefully vetted and trained in order to serve as consistent, caring role models for their mentees.
The New Year is a time when I look forward with hope and optimism. So do the group of 6-17 year olds in DC, who kicked off 2014 by working with BEST Kids and Sodexo to compete in a friendly culinary competition that doubled as a Holiday Winter Celebration with their guardians, mentors and close relatives. It is with pride that I represent Sodexo, along with several colleagues, including Sodexo Chef and BEST Kids Board Member Sterling Smith where we celebrated the kids and their accomplishments. Yes, BEST Kids and events like the holiday luncheon are inspirational for me. But even more important, mentors and celebrations like this one are life changing for our children.
It is my hope that you, too, are looking forward with hope and optimism. One way to do so is to seek out a source for inspiration where you can make a difference. Consider mentoring at work or in your community – you never know how you will change someone’s life, or they will change yours.
Jodi Davidson is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives for Sodexo and recipient of the 2013 BEST Believer Award from BEST Kids for her contribution to advancing a mission of mentoring in DC.