We are excitedly preparing to welcome the next round of mentors and mentees to the upcoming session of the 4word Mentor Program, but know that there are some out there who are considering the program but just aren’t sure if it’s for them. To help you decide, we will be sharing interviews with past 4word Mentor Program mentors and mentees, who will share with you their experiences with and thoughts on the program. Today, we speak with mentor/mentee pair Kristi Tomlinson and Victoria George.
4word: What drew you to the 4word Mentor Program?
Kristi: I have been privileged to be a part of the 4word Mentor Program as a mentee and a mentor. When I first participated, I chose to be mentored because I was going through a career transition. I had been a financial advisor for many years but was joining a new firm. I wanted to see how the program operated before becoming a mentor, and my experience was amazing. My mentor served as a sounding board for me through that first transitional year at my new firm and served as confirmation to me on the steps I was taking to be successful there.
Victoria: I had just joined 4word at the membership luncheon when I heard about the Mentor Program. I was in a unique place in my career. I was fairly established in a career in the oil and gas industry. However, I was not very satisfied and I was looking for a complete career change. I wanted to branch out into the non-profit sector and find a career that was more rewarding on a personal basis. I was looking for someone who was Christ-centered to help me navigate through this time and help provide input on important decisions that needed to be made. When it comes to making difficult decisions, I strongly believe it is always helpful to consult those around you who have more experience.
I was also looking for a mentor-type figure in my life to help me grow in my relationship with God. I am a person who needs accountability in her life. This mentorship program was a wonderful opportunity to partner with someone who would hold me accountable on a weekly basis and make sure I was keeping the right priorities in check. One of my main goals was not sacrificing my time with God when work obligations became overwhelming.
4word: Victoria, how did Kristi’s mentorship help you during your career shift? Kristi, what past experiences did you draw from to help Victoria?
Victoria: It was such a crazy time in my life! Between signing up for the 4word Mentor Program and my first meeting with Kristi, God provided an amazing opportunity for me at Children’s Health working as a program manager. I was hired to manage health programs that were being developed for the community. The programs are designed to educate, inspire, and provide resources to help children live healthy lives, ex. asthma management programs and healthy weight programs. I was so excited, motivated and, honestly, scared.
While this career change was an answer to prayers, it was also a huge challenge for me since I was new to the healthcare industry. Kristi provided me with the tools to not only manage the stress but also to make sure God was the central focus of my day. She recommended books on managing priorities, and gave advice from her own experiences on ways to grow in my new career, grow in my faith, make more time for God, and lead a happier and more fulfilled life.
Kristi: Victoria was changing jobs and stepping into a position that was truly part of her calling. She had worked in the for-profit world previously and was transitioning to the non-profit arena. During my career, I have had a few job changes and drew from that experience. But Victoria was at a pivotal time in her career. She had had a couple of jobs before, but never viewed her previous jobs as part of her true calling. This job was different for her. It had purpose. During my last job change, that’s exactly what I had done. It’s different. It’s about hearing God and His calling and His purpose and walking out His plan.
4word: Victoria, what specific aspects of Kristi’s mentorship really stood out to you during your time together?
Victoria: I loved the structure of our meetings. During the first meeting, we focused on getting to know each other and making some guidelines for our time together. Each week I set 2-3 goals in three different areas of my life (personal, spiritual, and work). By setting these goals each week and reviewing my progress during our next time together, I was given the opportunity to see my growth in each of these three areas. By focusing on manageable goals in each category, I found I was more balanced in not only my work life, but also my home life.
Kristi also helped me balance my charitable efforts in the community. Through Kristi’s guidance and her recommendation of The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst, I learned where to really focus my efforts and resources to those charities where my true passions lied. Based on Kristi’s recommendation, I wrote a mission statement to declare my priorities and passions. I learned to ask myself, “Does this align with my mission statement?” If not, then my efforts would be better utilized doing something else. It is hard to say no when asked to help a worthy cause, but you can easily become spread too thin. In learning to say yes to only those areas aligned, you have the ability to focus on those areas where you will have the greatest impact.
It is hard to emphasize how wonderful a mentor Kristi was to me. Kristi is now a dear friend, and I feel so fortunate to have her in my life as a trusted adviser and confidant. Her faith and leadership are truly inspirational.
4word: Why do you think more women should pursue a mentor/mentee partnership?
Kristi: I don’t think women understand the impact and life change that can occur with mentoring. It can move you from a place of familiarity to challenge, from just a job to a calling. Mentoring is modeled for us throughout the Bible. God used ordinary people like Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Esther, Priscilla, and Aquila to influence and train others to do the extraordinary. And, of course, Jesus was the ultimate mentor, using the disciples to change the world.
Victoria: I feel like it is such a blessing to find an organization that is solely intended to support working Christian women. In most work environments, you do not feel comfortable discussing your faith. 4Word is all about supporting Christian women and helping women advance in the workplace. Regardless of your age, job, family situation, etc., I recommend becoming involved with this partnership. Whether you are the mentee and gaining knowledge from someone who has already gone down the path, or the mentor sharing your experiences with someone, I believe both parties benefit greatly from the partnership.
4word: Victoria, what advice do you have for prospective mentees? Kristi, what advice do you have for those considering being a mentor?
- Come with an open heart, ready to learn from a Christian woman who has already walked down a lot of the same paths you will experience.
- Come prepared with questions and have goals that you want to gain from this partnership. Set weekly personal, spiritual and work goals and each week work hard to meet those goals.
- Ask the tough questions. No one has all the answers but many times it is helpful to have someone on your side to help you get through hard times.
Kristi: To those considering mentoring, I would say, just do it! Some younger professionals think they don’t have much to contribute to someone else, but there’s always someone who needs advice about where you have been and what you have experienced. To the ladies further along in their career, I would say please take the time to invest in others. It is so rewarding and is not just an earthly investment, but an eternal one.
4word: Anything else you’d like to share?
Victoria: For potential mentees, I would definitely recommend the program to those who are new in their careers AND to those who have been in the workplace for a while. For mentors, thank you for your time, support and guidance!
Do you feel called to be a mentor? Are you looking for a mentor? The 4word Mentor Program is currently accepting applications for the upcoming fall session. Visit the Mentor Program website today and submit your online application by September 2, 2016!
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Kristi Tomlinson is a Partner and Financial Advisor at Preservation Financial in Hurst, Texas. Her primary focus is to build personal relationships with her clients and to help them be a good steward of their time, talent and treasure. She believes every person has a calling or passion in life, and she desires to see each person be in a position to meet their financial goals and walk out their calling. Kristi mentors other professional women and speaks to groups on financial matters, especially those relative to women.
Kristi grew up in the Dallas area, raised by parents who knew the value of hard work. Her first memories of money were the lessons she learned from her parents and grandparents about tithing, giving, and generosity. She desires to see people not only steward well, but give well. Kristi graduated Magna Cum Laude from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas with a degree of Bachelor of Business Administration. She has spent more than 20 years in the insurance and financial services industry.
Kristi is a Qualified Kingdom Advisor, a discipleship program for financial professionals, and serves on the board as Mentor Chair for Dallas 4word. She is an active member of her community as a board member of the Northwest Metroport Chamber of Commerce and also volunteers with other non-profit ministries. Kristi has been married for over 20 years to her husband, Clayton, and has two daughters, Niki and Natasha, and two sons, Tyler and Austin. She and Clayton are active members of Gateway Church in Southlake. Kristi is a half marathon runner and loves Harley motorcycle trips with their riding group, Gateway Riders.
Victoria George is the Manager over Community Health Programs at Children’s HealthSM . Victoria received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing and Management. Victoria is also personally involved with a number of charitable groups in the Dallas community. She is currently on the board of the Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s Medical Center and Dallas 4Word. She is also personally involved with Community Partners of Dallas, Highland Park United Methodist Church, Dallas A&M Club, Habitat for Humanity and North Texas Food Bank.