WINiT Case Study: Pilot Mentor Program – Lisa Hoehn

Industry Expert Looks for Opportunities to Mentor

Opportunity

Moving into the autumn season of her professional travel career, Lisa felt a strong desire to ‘pay it forward’ to the industry she has called home for over 30 years. Specifically, Lisa wanted to share what she had learned through her experience maneuvering through career opportunities, both positive and challenging.

As Vice President of Global Sales for ALTOUR, Lisa was afforded the flexibility, support and encouragement from her company to participate in travel industry networks. She learned about WINiT in 2014 through contacts within the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Lisa was President of her local chapter of GBTA and began to take notice of the number of both seasoned and new travel industry professionals who were getting involved and investing in WINiT. Lisa joined WINiT in September 2014 and was immediately interested in participating in the WINiT Pilot Mentor program. Although Lisa had sponsored many people throughout her career, she had never been involved in a formal professional mentoring program and hoped to add value by giving mentees the support and advice they sought in order to grow their careers. The WINiT Mentor program offered Lisa the ideal opportunity not only give back to the industry but to make a personal impact.

How WINiT Helped: Giving Back through Mentoring

After completing the WINiT Pilot Mentor Program, Lisa took on three mentees, which was at first a bit daunting but turned out to be one of the ‘best experiences’ of her career. WINiT’s Pilot Mentor program is a self-directed program that utilizes an automated mentor-mentee matching questionnaire. While most people think of a mentor/mentee relationship as one where the mentor has significantly more experience than the mentee, Lisa and two of her mentees had similar levels of career experience. Both mentees, however, were at a career crossroad and looking for the input of a seasoned professional to serve as a sounding board as they navigated new career opportunities. Each relationship and experience was unique and required different approaches and tools, all of which the WINiT Mentor Program provided.

Mentee: Ann Meskill, Meskill Associates

Ann Meskill spent the bulk of her successful 35-year career working in both sales and consulting roles for large global hospitality and travel management companies such as Carlson Wagonlit and American Global Business Travel. While she enjoyed her role and the industry, Ann wanted to make a lifestyle change that would allow for more flexibility and fewer hours. Ann resigned from her job at CWT to launch her own company. Ann now works as an independent Travel Director providing onsite support for meetings and incentives.  The launch of business was Ann’s first foray into entrepreneurship. She faced many new experiences and knew she – and her new business – could benefit from the insight and guidance of a mentor.

Mentee: Beth Quinn, CMP, GTP, CMM, Travel & Events

Beth has over 30 years of experience in administrative, global event, and travel management. Like many other industry professionals, Beth learned about WINiT while attending the 2014 GBTA conference and several months later became a Member. Beth was eager to meet more women in the industry and build her network in order to identify new career opportunities. After joining, Beth registered to be a mentee in the WINiT Pilot Mentor Program and, through the matching process, was connected with Lisa.

Following the suggested process outlined by the Pilot Program, Lisa met with both mentees, via phone, one-on-one on a monthly basis. Lisa and Ann were also able to attend the monthly program calls led by the WINiT program office. The calls offered an opportunity to review the processes and resources available to the program participants as well as answer any questions/concerns the participants had regarding the program.

Lisa and the mentees leveraged a variety of the program resources both in preparation for their monthly mentor/mentee meeting as well as during the meetings themselves. The monthly meetings were critical to creating momentum between Lisa and her mentees, as goals were set during those meetings and work was done in between to ensure those goals were met.

Benefits Realized

The WINiT Pilot Mentor program has concluded, but Lisa and her mentees are still realizing the impact the program has had on each of them, both personally and professionally.

With her new business up and running, Ann is busy with many new clients but has been able to achieve the work-life balance she was seeking. She feels Lisa played a critical role in the successful launch of her business; one of the new business leads Lisa provided is now a client. Lisa and Ann remain in contact and look forward to continuing their relationship. Ann also served as a mentor during the startup of her new business. It is important to learn but to also share her long-term industry knowledge with others.

“There is so much value to be realized through connecting with other people. The advice and perspective I gained through my experience in the WINiT Pilot Mentor program had a real impact on the successful launch of my new business,” commented Ann.

Beth’s experience as a mentee gave her new found confidence, which has helped her excel in her current role as well as apply for new roles outside of her current company. Though she has not yet transitioned into a new role, Beth continues to look for new opportunities to grow her career.

Lisa attests that she has learned far more from her mentees than they learned from her. “Their willingness to put themselves out there to gain professional and personal reward is truly inspiring. I enjoyed all my experiences as a mentor and truly love being a member of WINiT. I have made great professional connections and have built long lasting friendships. Thank you WINiT for the education and support you have brought to the travel industry.”

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