by Diversity Board Member and Big Sister Sidney Jean
The most influential mentor I have had in my life was my academic advisor in college. She exposed me to research and helped open doors to many different learning opportunities. Currently, almost three years out of college we still meet every couple of months for tea. While she has continued to encourage me to grow academically, she has also been a tremendous role model in my journey personal growth. Two of the most important lessons I’ve learned from her is to challenge yourself by taking yourself out of the comfort zone and not relying heavily on a routine.
This past year I attended Big Sister Boston's Conversations Among Women series at Simmons College. I saw the event in my Facebook feed for a couple of weeks, but didn’t purchase a ticket till the day of – I was dragging my feet, mostly because I was afraid to go by myself. But the fact that the event was held at Simmons pulled me in and I went. I am so glad that I went. The theme of that particular Conversations Among Women was Women of Color at Work: Selling Out to Fit In. The panel was very informative and inspiring, but the energy of the women in the room that day was what made the experience so meaningful for me. It was a diverse group of women who not only shared their stories from the workplace, but also supported each other and shared their strategies for making it through the day-to-day while maintaining their own vision.
After the event, I reached out to one of the Diversity Board members and applied to be on the board. I attended my first Diversity Board meeting in September, and I can honestly say that each meeting I walk away with so much inspiration and drive to do more. The Diversity Board is comprised of intelligent, empowered, and passionate women who strive to recruit more Big Sisters of color and create an open welcoming space for women in the community. Though the purpose of our monthly meetings is to organize around our mission, I leave each meeting feeling mentored in so many different ways. Each of the women on the board has great ideas for the bringing our mission alive, but what strikes me is the passion that they have to make change in the community.