Katie Balaze talks to CSMO Jessica Martin-Lane about mentorship, collaboration
WithersRavenel’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Jessica Martin-Lane has been the beneficiary of many mentors during her 20+ year career. Her positive experiences have shaped her into a champion for mentorship at WithersRavenel, and she shares her conversation with Stormwater Professional Katie Balaze about the value of mentorship and collaboration in professional development.
As a 100% employee-owned Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), WithersRavenel takes collaboration very seriously—so much that Collaboration is one of our company’s six core values. It is important that collaboration happen from top to bottom, bottom to top, and across all facets of our organization. Everyone at WithersRavenel is an owner, and we work hard to keeps owners informed and the dialogue open so all owners are empowered to make well-informed decisions.
One of the collaboration engagement tools that we use here at WithersRavenel is called Lunch with Leaders, where anyone in the company can connect one-on-one with our Executive Leadership Team. Lunch with Leaders aims to create an opportunity for employees, particularly new hires, to connect with management staff who may not be in their reporting structure. The hope is that this less formal environment helps employees to feel comfortable expressing ideas, opinions, and recommendations that may be harder to share in a larger group setting.
It was through this format that I recently had the honor of participating in a one-on-one luncheon with Katie Balaze. During our time together, Katie talked about her mentor Dr. Bill Hunt, North Carolina State University Professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Dr. Hunt played an integral role not only in her personal development, but also in her career decision-making.
Since we were on the topic of mentoring, I took the opportunity to ask Katie more about why she felt mentoring was important. Here are just a few of the reasons she mentioned:
Aids in building a network within your desired field of service
Helps you connect with people in other disciplines
Internal company mentors help foster collaboration across departments and improve the flow of work and processes across departments
Allows you to ask questions in a comfortable and safe environment
Creates a dialogue between people at all levels
Helps me get the answers and skills I need to excel in my career and my job
To hear more about Katie’s journey and the mentors who are helping shape her path, click the button below.
As an ESOP, collaboration, communication, and mentorship just make good business sense. It is through open dialogues such as this one that emerging leaders in our company help shape the future of what our firm offers and looks like.
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