Meet Audrey Jones, the first of many Women Who Rock that we’ll feature on our blog. As we wrap up National Mentoring Month, we’ve invited Audrey to share her experiences as the recipient of professional mentorship. She’s a great example for new business owners who use mentorship to cultivate the skills needed to run successful enterprises. As an executive at Auto Zone, Inc. and the co-founder of a technology start-up for moms and caregivers, Audrey relies on mentors in both arenas. Earlier this month, Al Pickett described what mentors expect in successful mentoring relationships; in today’s guest feature, Audrey explains how to gain the most from your mentors. As told by Audrey Jones…. As early as the fifth grade, I have always had a mentor – although I was not taught the concept of mentorship until much later in life. At 12, many of my classmates didn’t know that my teachers were exposing me to things that I could not fathom growing up in an inner-city school. Mentors are always preparing you for the things ahead; they see the bigger picture – one that is dependent of the frame you envision for yourself. For this reason, mentors may be for a Reason, Season, or a Lifetime, depending on the stage of your personal growth. Each mentor you create in life serves a purpose. It’s up to you to evaluate your mentor relationships periodically. In my corporate career, my mentors help me to develop our organization and ensure its vitality after more tenured employees decide to retire or advance their careers. I’ve learned that mentorship in a corporate environment can help you position yourself for advancement at any level, but you still must be prepared on your end. For me, mentors have identified my talent and sought me out. Based on that experience, I encourage anyone who seeks to gain a mentor to always perform at a high level, ask questions when the opportunity arises, and have something significant to say. Recently, I gained the confidence to become an entrepreneur and all of my corporate mentors have carried over into my startup life. My mentors from the startup world keep me focused on my work/life balance and teach me significant lessons about failure and recovery. Whether your mentor is in the corporate or startup culture, be prepared to work hard because good advice does not come free or easy. More than just delegating assignments and tasks, mentors take out the time to help you grow. By following through with the tasks they give you, you’re validating their efforts and showing that you are learning, growing, and appreciative of their time.
Audrey P. Jones is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kids360, which was founded in 2013 as the electronic emergency contact form for parents, children, and childcare providers. She is a graduate of Upstart, a Start Co accelerator program that develops women-led businesses in technology or high-growth industries. Audrey continues her IT career as a Project Manager at AutoZone and has worked for companies such as Fannie Mae, CSC and the Family Dollar Stores, Inc. Audrey also sits on the board at Grizzlies Prep Charter School, serves as the R&D Director of SoGiv, and volunteers as a technology instructor with Black Girls Code and golf instructor at The First Tee of Memphis. Audrey can be reached at email@example.com Note: Start Co is currently accepting applications for their 2014 Cohort of the Upstart Accelerator. Learn more about their accelerator programs here.