Soledad O’Brien has mentored young women throughout her years in journalism. Now, through her scholarships and her Starfish Foundation, she is able to reach even more aspiring journalists across the country. She is especially focused on empowering Black and Latino youth to continue their education whether that includes journalism or not.
"When I was in my very first job in TV news, it didn’t even occur to me to get a mentor. I was 21. I was constantly busy and living in the moment. And, like a lot of people, I thought of it as a formal, stuffy relationship with someone at work.O'Brien believes that we need to change how people think about different types of mentorships. "There are so many different ways to be mentored. Mentors can be there just to help you through a moment. I’ve had mentors who jumped in for a season to support and guide me. You might just need to pick someone’s brain, or you might have a relationship with someone that lasts for decades."
But very quickly, my boss stepped up to be my mentor. She made me start thinking about my long term goals. She made me look at my job as a career, even a calling. It worked. I began working, not to fulfill the demands of the day, but for the long haul. I didn’t just want to intern at a local TV station, make some extra money and fulfill my curiosity about the profession. I wanted to become a journalist and I had a plan as to how to get there."
Some of her advice about mentoring:
- The next time you need help with something, find the person who’s doing what you want to do.
- Have a diverse range of people who can advise you on different aspects of your life.
- Surround yourself with people who tell you that you can, not people who tell you that you can’t, or that you shouldn’t. Seek out those people and make them your mentor. Period.