KR: How did you get involved with WGLI? When? Why?
MS: I met Diana Ruiz (founder of WGLI) at Dominican University when she came to speak to a group of students. She spoke about her organization and later recruited me to help in the educational side. This was back in 2014.
KR: What has your involvement been with the organization?
MS: I was the Director of Education and I developed and gave the 5 day workshop in Oakland and Santa Rosa. Later I joined as a Board Member too but needed to leave for personal reasons.
KR: What has been your favorite part of working with WGLI?
MS: The women we touch. Today we are seeing the ugly side of Corporate America. I believe that we all have a responsibility to help change this. The women we work with are striving to change their lives and their family/community. We need to support them in every way…after all, that is the mission of WGLI, right?
KR: What value have you brought to the organization and what value have you received from it?
MS: After working in Corporate America for over 33 years and being the Business Manager for Chevron’s Corporate Human Resources AND having taught (my night job till 5 years ago) for over 18 years, I can help others to navigate and to hear truth in stories that I tell. I helped develop the workshops to have a practical approach to business and even today, I am volunteering to redraft new workshops. I believe that EVERY person should give back when they reach a certain stage in their lives…we all have so much to give that can help others from not making the same mistakes we made along the way.
KR: How do you hope to help the organization going forward in achieving its mission?
MS: Through the education side – which is where my strength lies.
KR: What is the best advice you received while developing your career?
MS: There was never just one person that I had as a mentor. I think it is important to look for those to help you with skills that you want to develop. There is no one person who will have all the skills you are wanting to grow. In addition, I think people don’t understand that mentor/mentee relationships change through years and that it is important to recognize that change along…with recognizing when the mentorship should sunset. In short, developing your career is an individual journey that we all must take.
KR: What advice would you give to women looking to grow into leadership positions?
MS: It is an individual journey, seeking out your strengths and working on your weaknesses…which we all have. The goal is to never lose your integrity and core values…let them drive the day and you choices. Remember that failure is only a gateway to success and if you keep trying, success (how YOU define it), will be yours. Don’t give up!
KR: Mona, thank you again for talking with me and sharing some of your knowledge and time. In closing, what advice would you give professional women looking to give back and help develop the next generation of women leaders?
MS: Be honest and tell it as it is. Recognize that things haven’t changed all that much. We need to work from within and HELP each other to make changes happen. I believe that education can NEVER be taken from you and I also believe that you should ALWAYS keep your skills current…never missing on this. Don’t be afraid to try…never say never…you’d be amazed at what you can do!
Just as we learned from Mona’s experience, leadership is so much more than just managing others. It’s about giving back, and helping to develop future leaders through speaking, mentoring, educating, and encouraging others to be brave, take risks and embrace failure. If you would like to be a part of the revolution to build a community of fearless woman ready to embrace change, then get involved with WGLI today. Become a partner, sponsor, volunteer your time or become a WGLI ambassador and serve as a bridge for women helping women.