By Kayla Sander | Senior lecturer, Iowa State University

Support. Encouragement. Celebration. This is exactly what our mentors and champions do for us, and I think it is time to turn the tables. Are you with me?

Over the past 10 years, I have developed a huge appreciation for the impact of mentoring and for the generous women and men who dedicate their time to serve as mentors. During my time as an instructor in the Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University, I led the effort to create an annual conference to educate high school students about the many diverse opportunities in business. I also created and continue to advise a student organization on campus, Collegiate Women in Business, with the purpose of developing our female business students into confident, impactful, young professionals. 

I am so impressed to see young women in college who have a desire to connect with a strong mentor. These young ladies crave the opportunity to have a professional relationship with women who are willing to share their experiences and their advice. They are looking for someone with influence to pull them under their wing and to serve as a champion when appropriate. These students already have an understanding of how a strong mentor can truly change the trajectory of their career and the level of satisfaction felt along the journey.

We never outgrow the need for a mentor. It doesn’t matter if we are in our 20s or our 60s. All of us are constantly facing new challenges. We need and appreciate those around us who inspire, guide and advocate for us.      

Many of you are probably already reminiscing about the mentors you have had through each stage of your career. We all think about these amazing individuals in our lives with such gratitude and the desire to express to them how we feel.  

Well, here is a chance! The Ivy College of Business is seeking nominations for our first Ivy Women in Business Awards. If there is someone who has guided your career path by their amazing example or who has opened doors for you by shouting your praise from the rooftops, we want to hear about it. We want to celebrate them. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 31. Simply fill out an online nomination. A special celebration will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 21 at the ISU Alumni Center. Award winners must be able to attend. 

I want to acknowledge that many of you reading this are the women and men serving as mentors for students, co-workers, family, friends and more. First, I want to thank you for making this a priority in your life. Your time is meaningful and well-spent. Please consider supporting and celebrating the hard work and achievements of mentors, leaders and champions by nominating them for this award.

Kayla Sander joined the faculty in the Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University in June 2008. In her current role of Dean’s Teaching Fellow & Senior Lecturer of Accounting, Kayla has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of students pursuing a career in business. She also serves as the Master of Accounting program coordinator and adviser. Among Kayla’s greatest passions is serving as the faculty adviser for a student organization called Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) where she has the opportunity to work with an exceptional group of female leaders participating in multiple mentorship programs, awareness and development activities, networking, and more. Her husband, one year old daughter, and two year old son keep her laughing and on the go.Contact Sander via email.