I started to follow the 3Plus International on LinkedIn and was active in all the discussions.
One day 3Plus presented a pilot mentoring program. I sent my application with a hope that I would be accepted. And I was! I received the documentation regarding my obligations, attended the “Make the Most of Mentoring” webinar and was delighted to find that I had been matched with Dorothy Dalton as my mentor.
The past 9 months have been hectic for me and a period of enormous change, some unexpected, some unwelcome. So this mentoring opportunity came at the right time!
Here is my story!
My first mentoring session with Dorothy was like having coffee with a friend that I hadn’t seen for a long time. At that time I was struggling say “no” to the demands made on me by the owner of the Hotel I was managing and I needed support being firmer with my boundaries. I was involved in many areas of activity outside the scope of my job and skill set, as well as working extremely long hours, for which I was also not being paid. I was starting to feel overwhelmed. I was also looking for more senior roles, but was unable to progress as I hoped. I wasn’t sure if it was a lack of knowledge or experience.
Although we focused on my goals, I hadn’t expected it to be so much fun. We laughed a lot! I agreed I would schedule a meeting with my manager to discuss my concerns about my situation to find an acceptable solution.
Two days later, I lost my job because I would not take on additional responsibilities for an area in which I had no experience or qualifications.
A period of change
Dorothy was shocked and worried about me. I was drained of energy. At our next meeting we analyzed the situation and discussed how to cope with this traumatic experience. I created action plans (A, B and C) including seeking advice for unfair dismissal and recuperating salary still owed to me. I set up clear, weekly goals which were all prioritized. I had two additional objectives: to find a job (or create one) and to enroll in a Business school, one of my long-term personal ambitions.
I surprised Dorothy at our next meeting! After two days of sadness, on her advice I became proactive. With her guidance, I had formulated my strategy which was updated during the mentoring period, as additional challenges came my way (and there were others!) I needed to pay my bills during the MBA application period and cope with GMAT and language proficiency testing, as well as creating a longer terms strategy if I was not successful in obtaining a business school place. With persistence and determination I succeeded in achieving both my goals!
In March 2012 I surprised Dorothy in Brussels by attending the 3Plus Mini-Mentoring Event. I finally met her personally. The event was more than great!
Networking and persistence
In June, I started working for the International Congress as their Onsite Coordinator in Pula, Croatia, where I met a number of professors from different international universities. Prof. Marianne Birnbaum suggested I consider CEU Business school in Budapest. Within 48 hours I had been interviewed by the Admissions Officer, enrolled in their programme and even went on to secure scholarships. I started my MBA course earlier this month.
At our last Skype meeting and discussing all the interesting new info in our lives and more fun I said “New page, new book“. Dorothy agreed with me. This is why my story has this title, because it is a new page in my new book!
How did mentoring help?
Mentoring gave me the possibility to analyze my situation with an experienced professional, to establish what I wanted to do. I was supported in creating a plan, as well as a back-up plan. A mentor is a person who can guide us in a very easy, friendly, but professional way. Mentoring doesn’t supply the answers, but helps us find them ourselves and supports us in achieving our ambitions. Last but not least but important, my mentoring experience happend at exactly the right time. So “thanks Dorothy” for being my mentor, thanks to Anne Perschel and Ivana Matic too.
Thanks also to: Ben & Louise from US, Marijan R., Kristina B., Mirela Mrvelj and her team, Lidija S., Sandra A., Mauro J., and of course my close friends and family who supported me during this period.
Rasti Nikolic has a background in Finance, Controlling and Consulting. Educated in Croatia, Norway and Italy she is currently an MBA candidate in CEU Business school in Budapest. She is an active member of 3Plus and WIA (Women In Adria)