Inspire & Be Inspired: Northwestern University’s Council of 100 Is What Mentorship Is All About by Elisa Schmitz
Northwestern University’s Council of 100 is a mentoring organization made up of NU’s leading alumnae that I’ve been part of for many years. It was while serving as a mentor at a C100 meeting that the seed for my new book, Become the Fire: Transform Life’s Chaos into Business and Personal Success, was planted.
I was so honored to be the keynote speaker for C100’s fall meeting in downtown Chicago, where we kicked off “A Year of Daring” programs for our members and community. The theme of “I Dare You” was the spark to embrace our vulnerability, and take action courageously and intentionally in our personal and professional lives.
The connection to Become the Fire could not have been more fitting. I shared stories of how I and the other diverse leaders whose stories I share in the book dared to be courageous, step into our power and overcome our challenges and chaos to manifest the lives we wanted.
After my talk, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the inspirational Kim Oster-Holstein, founder of Twisted Alchemy (whose amazing story is featured in Become the Fire), about the book’s themes of courage, resilience and leadership. We took questions from the audience for a fun and lively interactive discussion. We ended by daring our community to go from dreaming to doing, to take that step they’ve been wanting to take, to move forward and go for it.
I loved catching up with one of my student mentees, Jennifer Beall Saxton. When Jen was a grad student at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, I was one of the judges (and as Jen reminded me, the only female judge) who provided mentorship and feedback on her business idea – which would go on to be known as Tot Squad – and which went on to win first place in the Kellogg Cup Business Plan Competition. To have Jen now serving as a member of C100, providing mentorship for others who were once in her shoes, was truly a full circle moment.
It was a joyful and inspiring evening among a diverse community of female leaders. I’m so grateful to be part of this group where I can inspire and be inspired, which is what mentorship is all about!
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