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Don’t Discount Your Peers When It Comes to Mentors by Stephanie Uhlmann

Posted 03/24/2022

As part of our Women’s History Month celebration that recognizes women making history in everyday ways, we asked our staff about the woman or women who mentored them. Below is what our Director of Human Resources, Stephanie Uhlmann, had to say.

When we think about the word mentor and the people we call mentors, it’s typical we think of someone several years older than us. The gap in years is because they likely have more life experience, wisdom, and advice to share. However, when I think about the mentors in my life, my most constant is a person born the same year as me, and her name is Haylee.

We met at summer camp; she was a head counselor, and I was a junior counselor. We didn’t know each other at all except that she had experience living in a cabin with kids and I didn’t. She had graduated high school with an exciting plan for her next steps and I was figuring out how to get through the summer and my senior year of high school. I couldn’t imagine anything beyond that. Over the course of three months, Haylee was my guide, teacher, and support. She showed me how to create a safe atmosphere for kids to grow, she taught me how to balance being silly while still setting rules, and she listened to me when I was exhausted and needed a boost. Our camp years have ended, but she has continued to guide and support me. She encouraged me as I went on my journey to attend university in a different country. She was my constant cheerleader as I started new jobs and roles. And she has been my rock through all the difficulties life can bring.

It’s a great thing to have mentors older than you, but don’t forget about those in the same place of life as you are. Age is not necessarily what creates life experience, wisdom, or good advice. If Haylee and I weren’t born the same year, I don’t know if we would have met or worked together as we did. However, what I do know is that I would not be the person I am today without her.