“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 student is then matched with their mentor based on their area(s) 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

  • Dedicating the time to support the relationship.
  • For sophomore mentors, we recommend meeting with your mentee individually at least once per semester outside of in-person events.
  • For juniors mentors, we recommend scheduling a meeting at a minimum of twice per semester. The junior program is a long-distance mentorship program.
  • Assist your mentee in creating developmental goals.
  • 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 (e.g. phone or email etiquette).
  • Share tips and strategies for managing the work/life balance you have learned along the way.
  • Evaluate on-going progress and provide honest, constructive feedback.
  • Provide program feedback and direct questions, comments, or concerns to the Coordinator.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 discussions, site tours, and networking events. One-on-one meetings are highly encouraged outside of these activities (via Skype, email, etc.).

For the junior program, the relationship will be conducted via email, Skype, Zoom, 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 discussion, 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. As a mentor, you will also strengthen your coaching and leadership skills.

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 the expectations you have of your mentee and expectations your mentee 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 mentee for an extended period, and have reached out, please contact Sandra Philius.

Mentoring Resources

Tips for a Successful Virtual Mentorship (includes suggestions for virtual activities)

Mentoring Matters: Three Essential Elements of Success

Potential Topics and Themes to Discuss with your Mentee

Want to be a Great Mentor? Here’s How

Advice from Mentors

“Remember that the mentees are in college and still learning about professionalism!”

“The program is only what you make of it. If you don’t put much in, you or the student won’t get much out of it.”

For sophomore mentors: “Attend events in-person is all I can recommend.”

“While fundamentally the same mentoring as when you mentor newer associates to your firm, this mentoring is helping students identify how to get a career and navigate that exciting transition of preparing for the workforce and navigating circumstances that come with college, so the same techniques of HOW you mentor is the same, the what you are mentoring on is slightly different.”

“It is an opportunity for growth and a real eye-opener to spend time with these bright women.”

“Spend time getting to know your mentee.”

“To know that young people aren’t always the best at taking the initiative so hang in there and keep trying with them vs waiting for them to come to you.”

For sophomore mentors: “Group events are a great chance to both network and get to know your mentee.”

“Finding a way to deliver effective, constructive feedback is critical to the development of the mentees.”

“To know that young people aren’t always the best at taking the initiative so hang in there and keep trying with them vs. waiting for them to come to you.”

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