All of our youth deserve the opportunity to develop into successful adults that contribute to society in a positive way. However, this is unfortunately not always the case as many of our youth lack a support system at home. One statistic that I found astounding is that only 25 percent of our youth population is actually making it through K-12 and college to achieve an academic degree.


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To demonstrate the benefits of mentoring under-served or at-risk youth, we wanted to share some of the powerful roles that these positive relationships can play in a student’s education:

  • Youth involved in a mentoring relationship are more likely to stay in school. All too often, students that lack positive role models in their lives are less engaged in school and eventually drop out of high school before graduation.
  • A study completed by the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation indicated that students that see their mentors regularly are 46 percent less likely to skip an entire day of school and 37 percent less likely to skip a class.
  • While many youth may not have the support system at home to assist with homework and instill good study habits, many mentoring programs are focused on enhancing students’ academic skills.
  • One of the major benefits of mentoring is that students are more likely to make better grades in school.

If we continue to live in a world where our youth do not have positive role models, you can only imagine what our country will look like in 15 years. Understanding the benefits of mentoring, there are organizations, such as The Right to Succeed, that are doing their best to fix this problem, but we still need more mentors. To learn more about becoming a mentor, please contact me, Dawn Carroll, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.



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If you follow our Over My Shoulder Foundation blog, you’ve probably heard us talk about Designing the Next Generation, which is our international conversation about raising the awareness of mentoring relationships and the powerful impact that they can make.

Perhaps you have decided that you want to be a part of this initiative and become a mentor for an aspiring young professional. One of the most important things that you can do as a mentor is to clearly understand the responsibilities of the position that you will be undertaking. To help best prepare you for what you are signing up for, we wanted to share some useful information for how to be a good mentor:

  • Understand that you will be taking on a role as both a coach and advisor. Not only will you offer useful and meaningful advice to your mentee, you will also need to be prepared to offer feedback when necessary.
  • You will need to provide encouragement and support to your mentee when necessary. Being a mentor is not just about instructing your mentee on what to do. A huge component of this role is to be a sounding board and provide the necessary support that your mentee needs to achieve his or her goals.
  • Offer resources. Sometimes you will not have all of the answers, and sharing your contacts and resources with your mentee can be extremely valuable.
  • Encourage new ways of thinking. Sometimes it’s okay to play devil’s advocate with your mentee to encourage him to think through important decisions.

To learn more about how to be a good mentor, contact us!



Studying art and design can help young people progress creatively and intellectually. Source:

At the Over My Shoulder Foundation, we are passionate about Designing the Next Generation and have made this subject our international conversation about mentoring. Unfortunately, our country’s education system has a limited budget for art and design curriculum and regards such subjects as luxury extracurricular activities. In reality, weight should be placed more heavily on the importance of visual learning as it plays a valuable role in the development of our next generation. Outlined below are several reasons why art and design are critical aspects of education for young people:

  • Decision Making: While it may not seem like it at first glance, art and design can actually strengthen problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Creativity inspires our youth to look at things from different angles as well as discover new ways of doing things. These are critical skills that our youth can benefit from throughout their lifetime.
  • Visual Learning: Our youth are constantly exposed to three-dimensional objects on computers, social media networks, and television, and art and design can help this age group to gain more input and better understand this visual information and how to make choices based on it.
  • Cultural Awareness: Our society is becoming much more of a melting pot, and art and design are critical ways in which different cultures define themselves. For example, some colors are more prominent in one culture than another. Allowing our youth to gain a better understanding of the choices that an artist or designer may have made can allow them to better understand the concept.

To expand on our discussion of the importance of visual learning and how it plays a powerful role in Designing the Next Generation, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.


We all know how easy it can be to become completely immersed in your work; however, that does not always lead to a fulfilled lifestyle. The most successful people tend to find a way to balance both their work and home life, although it is no easy task. As a mentor, this is one of the most important lessons that you can teach to your mentee. If you’re not sure how to relay this message, we wanted to share some useful tips for maintaining work-life balance:


The most successful people know how to balance their time. Source:

  • Incorporate downtime into your schedule. This means building in time to hang out with friends and family, which is one of the best ways to recharge. By making a habit of proactively doing this, you will find that you still have time to work hard and play hard.
  • Outsource your errands. A trip to the grocery store and mowing your lawn can take up precious time, which you probably don’t have a lot of. Find ways to eliminate these daily chores when possible, such as ordering your groceries on the Internet and paying someone to cut your lawn.
  • Make time for exercise. Exercise is a great stress reliever and is a proven way to increase your energy levels and allow for better concentration. Starting your morning with a run or trip to the gym before your family wakes up can allow you to fit in a workout without taking time away from family or work.

If you enjoy the content provided by Over My Shoulder Foundation, contact us! SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit, and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook, too!

We have heard many say, “I just don’t have time to mentor.” We have also shown exquisite examples of how a single moment, one sentence, or just a few minutes can inspire profound changes in a person’s life.


Skype can help you stay connected across the globe. Source:

Many years ago when I was just starting my career in Los Angeles, I remember speaking to the dynamic Sharon Osborne, wife of legendary rocker Ozzy Osborne. Sharon was rebuilding Ozzy’s career with gusto and re-inventing their entire “brand.” I never forgot the strategy meetings I participated in, where Sharon and some of the marketing minds of Hollywood discussed how they would rejuvenate a legend. For me, this was a “rockin” mentoring moment. A new generation of fans all over the world fell in love with Sharon and her family. Many got to know her as she mentored young aspiring artists on hit TV shows like “America’s Got Talent,” and watching her embrace the next generation of talent and encourage with her mentoring wisdom was unforgettable.

With a jam-packed schedule like Sharon’s, her “do-everything” attitude has found her participating in shows around the world at the same time! Her schedule was becoming hard to juggle, so she is leaning on technology—particularly Skype–to allow her to continue to mentor! Via Skype, Sharon will mentor her “X Factor” acts while she is flying back and forth to the United States to continue being a host on the U.S. Talk Show “The Chat.”

If you enjoy the content provided by Over My Shoulder Foundation, contact us! SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit, and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook, too!



Establish a mentoring program, empower your employees and watch your bottom line head towards the sky.

We’ve recently discussed the positive impact that creating a mentoring program within your organization can have, and the perfect example of a company that has executed this well is CUMAR Marble and Granite. According to Management Mentors, approximately 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer some type of employee mentoring program.

For those that want to create a mentoring program within their own organization, here are three key factors to consider to implement this effectively:

  1. Determine what your organization plans to accomplish through a mentoring program. For example, while it may be expensive to offer a strong employee benefits package, differentiating yourself by offering a mentoring program to help employees excel in their careers with your company can help to attract, retain, and develop talent.
  2. What will be your strategy for holding employees accountable to the mentoring program? Designating someone within your organization to serve as the manager of the mentoring program can assist with matching up mentor/mentee pairs as well as providing support for the relationships when necessary. Generally, employees within the HR realm of your organization already have the necessary people skills to handle such a task.
  3. Training is necessary in order for the program participants to understand what a mentoring relationship is all about. Make sure that participants understand that mentoring is about building a relationship, not coaching.

To learn more about the value of mentoring and creating a mentoring program within your organization, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

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Once you have taken the initiative to find a mentor that can add value and provide guidance in either your personal or professional life, the second step is establishing goals to clearly define your intended outcomes of the mentoring relationship.

To help simplify this process, we wanted to provide you with some useful tips for how to set goals and keep them.


Accomplishing your goals is easier with guidance from a strong mentor.

Georgia Tech Mentor Jackets suggests setting S.M.A.R.T goals:

S=Strategic and Specific
The intention of each goal should be specific and work towards the overall performance challenge being managed.


Every goal should have clearly defined action items that will indicate how the goal will be achieved.

While goals should be challenging, it’s important to establish goals that could be realistically met with hard work.

Each goal that you put in place should better position you accomplish the “big picture” achievement.

Establish a deadline for each goal to be accomplished without allocating too much time.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association suggests writing down your mentoring goals and objectives. Not only will this help you to better remember your goals, but it can also serve as a constant reminder for what you are trying to accomplish. Reviewing your goals on a daily basis as well as regularly discussing your goal progress with a mentor can help to keep you motivated.

For more effective ways for how to set goals, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

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Take time to get to know your mentee.

At the Over My Shoulder Foundation, our mission is to raise the awareness of the positive impact that mentoring can have, both cross-generationally and cross-culturally. If you are interested in helping guide a younger person to success, we wanted to share some helpful tips for how to become a mentor courtesy of Management Mentors:

  • In order to build a strong relationship, you need to first take the time to get to know each other. While it’s important to share your wisdom, it’s even more important to listen to what your mentee has to say.
  • Discuss what each of you expects to gain out of this mentoring relationship and outline goals that you would like to achieve.
  • Be open about your ideas, thoughts, and feelings about the mentoring relationship and encourage your mentee to do the same.
  • Determine up front how often the two of you will meet and the preferred type of communication, whether it be in person or on the phone.
  • To be most efficient, come up with a rough plan of what you plan to talk about with your mentee prior to your meetings, and be ready to adjust your agenda as necessary.

It’s always important to keep in mind that it takes two people to build a strong mentoring relationship, and establishing expectations of each other up front can help the relationship to be mutually beneficial.

To learn more about how to become a mentor, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

Image Source:  U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region


It can be hard to get the conversation started. Use our tips.

Sometimes the idea of mentoring relationship can be intimidating, whether you are the mentor or the mentee. To help break the ice and ease into this relationship, we wanted to share some helpful tips for how to talk to a mentee, courtesy of the Center for Mentoring Excellence:

Just as you would with any other relationship, begin the conversation by warming up and building trust
. Ideally, you will want to make yourself familiar with your mentee’s background before the initial meeting, as this will help the two of you to find commonalities. Taking the time to first warm up the conversation will make the whole concept of a mentor/mentee relationship less rigid.

After the two of you have connected on common interests, here are some helpful questions that will help aid you on how to talk to a mentee to be most effective in your role:

  1. What are you passionate about?
  2. What values do you live your life by?
  3. What are some life experiences that have made the biggest impact on you?
  4. What would you say your strongest quality is?
  5. What are some unique skills and capabilities that set you apart from everyone else?

Most importantly, you need to actively listen to your mentee’s responses to these questions. Your eye contact and body language will communicate that you truly care about helping your mentee achieve his or her goals. Make a mental note of feelings of confusion or frustration from your mentee, and do not interrupt him or her unless it is completely necessary.

For more information about the powerful impact that a mentoring relationship can have, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

© Duey | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Our mission at the Over My Shoulder Foundation is to spread the word on the power of mentoring, both cross-culturally and cross-generationally. Unfortunately, the art of mentoring is not embraced enough, which typically affects the younger generation. We all have useful skills and experiences to pass along to others that could prove to be extremely beneficial in guiding a young person in his or her career path or personal development.


Dawn Caroll and Patti Austin want to show you the power of mentoring.

Whether you have been asked to be a mentor or would like to see a younger person reach his or her highest potential, here are five ways on how to be an effective mentor:

  1. Know what your “super power” is and use your skill to teach others. By leveraging your expertise in a particular area, you can offer your knowledge and skills to others, without being condescending.
  2. Be respectful of others’ time. While your time is very important and often limited, the same is true for others that you are mentoring as well. Arrive for meetings on time. Share your wisdom, but be careful to not monopolize the conversation.
  3. It’s not just about you. Your goal as a mentor is to help others. By listening to what they need and guiding them along the way, it can be a very rewarding process for you as well.
  4. Introduce influencers that can positively impact the person you are mentoring. We have all benefited along the way from being introduced to a center of influence in our industries.
  5. Check in regularly. All too often a mentoring relationship is established, but several months go by between conversations. If you can’t meet in person, try using Skype or FaceTime.

What advice do you have for how to be an effective mentor?