In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we are highlighting JVS SoCal’s long-standing WoMentoring program, which has had a multiplier effect in the community.
When Thuy Nguyen arrived in the U.S. in 2019, she faced obstacles that made her wonder if she could ever become the person she was meant to be.
First, her work documents were delayed for nearly a year. She went on to work at a restaurant despite her previous experience as an English teacher. She knew she wanted to find her way back into education and helping people, but she didn’t know how to begin again.
“The pandemic hit and at that point, I was quite desperate,” said Thuy. So, when she learned about a mentorship program designed specifically for women in her situation, Thuy seized the opportunity.
Thuy Nguyen, JVS SoCal WoMentoring mentee
WoMentoring is a six-month career development program that offers women with defined career objectives the unique opportunity to be paired with a mentor who has an established career in their chosen field. The program provides structured mentoring based on SMART goals, which the mentees set and pursue with the guidance of their mentors. While the program is designed to last six months, the relationships formed during this period can be significantly enduring and exponentially impactful.
Such is the case with Nooshin Nathan, an award-winning Human Resources executive whose HR journey began in 2000 when she became involved in JVS’ SoCal’s WoMentoring program. Through WoMentoring, she was introduced to her mentor and referred to her first job in the field. Since completing her time as a mentee, Nooshin has gone on to mentor many other women and young adults through the WoMentoring program and in her daily life.
Nooshin Nathan, JVS SoCal WoMentoring mentor and former mentee
“The role of a mentor is someone who is committed to providing space for a mentee to gain practical knowledge and insight from a seasoned professional… so there is a space of transparent dialogue about challenges, opportunities, and insight to grow,” says Nooshin. Adding that the mentor also benefits from the relationship. “For the mentor, it creates an opportunity to expand their professional knowledge and repertoire of skills through informing another person or facilitating the learning.”
For Thuy, the guidance she received through WoMentoring gave her the confidence she needed to push forward and set her up for success in landing a paid internship and continuing her pursuit of a master’s degree.
“That’s what I learned most about with [my mentor]; because at that point, I didn’t see any strengths that I had. I just knew that I had to keep doing, keep learning, keep growing, but without any confidence about what my transferable skills from Vietnam [were],” said Thuy, “only through someone who was patient enough to help me through, is [how] I was able to do it. I’m thankful for my mentor.”
Nooshin affirms that she is a testament to the multiplier effect of WoMentoring, going from mentee to mentor. Beyond being a mentor in the program, she has volunteered numerous hours in support of many other JVS SoCal programs and events. Additionally, she provides expert advice to young professionals at conferences such as the National Human Resources Association.
Thuy also says her WoMentoring experience has inspired her to share her story to help others. “As a personal goal, I want to become a mentor,” Thuy says. “That’s how impactful the program was, and I want to give back.”
To learn more about JVS SoCal’s WoMentoring program, please visit jvs-socal.org/program/mentoring-for-women.