For those who don’t already know me, I’m Valerie, one of the senior mentors at Springboard. One of the defining moments of my life came when I met my mentor (Ms F) some years ago. Someone who had successfully managed multi-million dollar businesses and is now an author and consultant for C-suites on sustainability issues.

We did not start out with a mentor-mentee relationship.  At first I thought of her as a ‘cheerful neighbouring worker’ sharing the same co-working space. She usually has her headphones on — to stay focused, or, to dial up for meetings. Still, she smile at me whenever our eyes get a chance to meet. She has a deep cheerful voice and a kind of ‘gentleness’, but don’t let this ‘gentleness’ fool you about her finesse  — i will get more into that later.

I really got to know her more closely during one of those “Friday tea-break” networking party that co-working spaces sometimes organize for fellow members /tenants. During one of those conversations where we introduced ourselves, she shared a bit of context for the generous party (yes, the spread was a bit more than usual).

It turns out that the founder sold the space for a good price, after engaging her as a consultant, AND before all the WeWork saga crushed the valuation of many smaller co-working spaces. Outsiders call it luck, but those of us in the finance/business industry know that it was her foresight and ability to see what the founder might not have.

Also, the way she listens, speaks to the other business owners, and dishing out useful bits of tips here/ there really inspired me. She secured two business meetings after the event. After a few more interactions with Ms F after the tea party,  I asked if  she could be my mentor.

She pointed me to her coaching program on a simple web-page which I could explore whenever I am ready, without any pressure or hurry, since she had other big deals to work on. After thinking over the four-figure fee, I took a leap of faith and signed up. At that point, I had thought: After spending thousands of dollars for CFA exams and thousands of hours in the finance industry, am I ‘stagnating’ at a certain level?

Turns out, the ROI on my mentorship was way better-than I expected. After following through her processes and doing my assigned homework, I was able to mentally prep for leadership positions. Eventually, one senior position came up, so she quickly sat down with me for one coaching session to distill the skills I had, the value I could bring, and made me practise my pitch several times that would lead towards an indicated salary range.

Initially, I was a little doubtful……but she ‘argued down’ my insecurities with her business logic and injected her own confidence in me.

She saw the value I could bring to the hiring firm.

She saw in me what I could be capable of….

When I finally landed that leadership role, I then understood the tremendous workload and learnt to deal with challenging people. I finally realise that the mentor-suggested pay range was really justified. I was so thankful I did not settle for less than I was worth.

A Leap of Faith

If you havent considered a mentor for yourself, I hope you can take away some insights from my story.

You can see from our testimonials that many of Springboard’s students who finished the Advanced Module — Research Like A Pro, have all benefited tremendously. Some went to work with prestigious firms, while others were quite content to

One thing for sure, many of them became very good with stock and company analysis. Skills that can launch you to C-suite positions when you can talk to management about numbers confidently. (By the way, we have added a M&A module under Research Like A Pro track)

One ex-student even told me he went to buy the stock he was tasked to research, and made more than 30% gains after having done very thorough research on a “seemingly boring” stock. His internship also let him to discover many hidden gems as well.

So you see, you never know what doors Networking can offer. Come talk to the seniors in a cosy setting with drinks, which we organise every quarter. Check out our facebook page and our posts!