Drink Like a Lady Podcast

Epic Mentorship: Shares from Interviews with 180 Boss Women

July 12, 2022 Joya Dass/Illana Raia
Drink Like a Lady Podcast
Epic Mentorship: Shares from Interviews with 180 Boss Women
Show Notes Transcript

IIana Raia, founder of Être, collated questions she got from young women, asked the questions to 180 successful business women like Bobbi Brown, Hoda Kotb and Angela Duckworth. The culmination of these interviews is her book “The Epic Mentor Guide."

In this interview, we share the top 6 insights for women seeking mentorship today.

In our conversation you will learn:
- Why mentorship matters
- How to find a mentor
- How to conduct successful mentorship at work
- How to be a mentor

Bio:
Recently named one of the first 250 entrepreneurs on the Forbes Next 1000 List, Illana Raia is the founder and CEO of Être - a mentorship platform for girls. that aims to provide curated resources and role models to girls approaching high school.

Être means “To Be” and her ideas was to help girls figure out – at an early and important age – who they wanted to be. They bring girls into companies such as Spotify, Google, YouTube, Morgan Stanley, and the NYSE to meet female leaders face to face.

The impact so far is unmistakable: girls with varying backgrounds and interests ask unvarnished questions to rock stars who remember exactly what it feels like to be in middle school. The anecdotes, candor and hard-core advice offered will last a lifetime.

Prior to launching Être in 2016, Illana was a corporate attorney at Skadden, Arps in NYC and an occasional guest lecturer at Columbia University. She graduated from Smith College and the University of Chicago Law School, and remains unapologetically nerdy.

[00:00:00] Joya: Folks. I wanna introduce you to Illana Raia who is the founder of a platform called Être. And Être is to be if translated literally from French, but truly this is a platform for young women to figure out a career trajectory. Is that right Illiana? 

[00:00:16] Iliana Raia: It is. And thanks for having me. 

[00:00:18] Joya: I think what you've done, yeomen's work in interviewing 180 boss women and asking them their very definition of what mentorship is.

And truly these questions were born out of these young women that are in your community. 

[00:00:33] Iliana Raia: They were it's, you know, the heart of Être when it is not COVID is that we take girls directly into companies to meet female leaders face to face. You know, let's stand you in the middle of Google so you can talk to engineers.

Let's put you on the floor of the stock exchange and you can ask women how they got there. When COVID hit and we couldn't do that anymore. We started doing everything by zoom, and I started to realize that girls from all over were joining these zooms. They were no longer just girls based in New York or where these companies were.

They were all kind of asking the same questions. So the book came about because we started collecting all of the questions. How do you get an internship at SpaceX? How do I use TikTok to network and then getting women at those companies to answer the questions. So the questions really were keyed directly from the girls.

And then we just started reaching out to women. 

[00:01:22] Joya: Ooh, I think you've touched on a loaded question, which is how to TikTok and network at the same time. I'm gonna come back to that, but I wanna get to these takeaways first. So you interviewed 180 women and give us just a little bit of a parameter of the sandbox you were playing in. Like who are the profiles of the women that you interviewed?

[00:01:41] Iliana Raia: What I love about the book is that there are tons of icons. You know, you go down that table of mentors at the front and you see names like Bobby Brown and Carol Golden and Hoda Kotb and Tyra Banks. But the industry's also span a very deep variety. You know, we had neurosurgeons and news anchors and architects and archeologists, and really responding to what the girls wanted.

So the familiar questions, you know, for the companies Pixar or Dylan's candy bar, but really serious questions too, about how do I raise my hand in a boardroom? And the bench was deep and I love that about it. 

[00:02:20] Joya: Amazing. All right, let's get into your top six takeaways from your 180 interviews. And the first one is to be specific.

This has gotta be one of my pet pees, cuz I know I'll connect someone to a mentor and they'll write back, "Hey, let me know when you have some free time." Yeah, no. How could you be more specific? 

[00:02:39] Iliana Raia: Ask with intention and I think that's whether you're asking someone to be your mentor in the first place, you know, not saying something like, can I pick your brain?

Because no, that's not how it's gonna work. Actually asking questions with purpose, with intention. And the founders of the skim, Carly and Danielle touched on this in their answer. And they wrote their answer together, which I thought was terrific. But they said specifically, ask with intention, recognize what you don't know.

What you need to find out and then be specific, be purposeful. And I think that's good advice. Whether you are meeting someone for the first time or in your hundredth meeting with someone. Specificity will get you the answer that you're looking. 

[00:03:18] Joya: And I'll layer on top of that. I often ask the women in my community to come back with two times that they know that they're gonna be available.

Two dates and times that degree of specificity. How you wanna cultivate the relationship? Will it be on phone? Will it be on email? Will it be in person? And the cadence at which you expect to be able to meet with this mentor? And is this engagement gonna go on forever or is this something that you're gonna want for the next three months? And that level of specificity also makes it easier for the other person to say yes. 

[00:03:48] Iliana Raia: Truly important, everything. And I think that's right. It could be a mentorship that spans decades when we're very lucky. It could be a mentor moment. Which is unbelievably impactful just in itself. And there's value in both. 

[00:04:01] Joya: Amazing. Now be fearless. Women have a hard time asking for help. I'm in front of my community all week long. And I see this as a recurring issue. They don't even know how to ask for help. So how does being fearless help you in this regard? 

[00:04:16] Iliana Raia: We've got this threaded through so many answers in so many ways.

Everything from the sculptor of the fearless girl statue. Kristen Visbal who talked about the importance of being fearless, to astronauts like Katie Coleman, to Senate aids who were in the chamber on January 6th, BR and leach, talking about how fearlessness helped them do their job, or find a job or again, ask for a mentor.

The idea that you might hear no, and that's okay. No might actually mean not right now. I can help you later. I'm not the right person to help you, but I know who is. So be fearless with your ask. And then once you're in the position, take some power, take some ownership and let courage drive you. I think curiosity and courage go hand in hand sometimes.

And I think you're right. We do have trouble being fearless, but it's a muscle like any other. And when it's cultivated, you will start using it all the time. 

And part 

[00:05:12] Joya: of what can embolden you, I think is if you were to do a little bit of research into the person that you're asking to be your mentor. What's the last article that they wrote?

What's the last interview that they did? And starting with that specificity. So it looks like you did your research. 

[00:05:27] Iliana Raia: Right. And that's exactly, it also shows that you have a deep interest in what they're talking about. I saw your Ted talk and I had a question. I found an article that you wrote, and I thought this other one might be of interest.

You're getting common ground. And when there's a generational divide, something like that can bridge that gap. 

[00:05:45] Joya: Amazing now being over-prepared we just talked and touched on researching the other party, but what does it mean to be over-prepared? 

[00:05:54] Iliana Raia: So this came from before COVID. One of our live events with Tyra banks.

And she sat down with 10 girls on international women's day, right before everything shut down for COVID. And she stressed the importance of being over prepared. That when she would walk into meetings, when she would get ready for any kind of a fashion show, she knew everything about what that designer wanted, how they'd run their shows before. She had read everything she had watched film.

And she said it took a lot of fear out of situations. It reminded everyone of her professionalism and it made her feel like she belonged where she was. And I know from my experience being in the corporate world, preparation is key. And if you're going have spotlight, you better be prepared in every way to use it.

[00:06:40] Joya: And I've learned that from my training in television, you are maybe gonna be on for three minutes, and Illiana you've done a ton of television. You might be on for three minutes, but all that preparation culminates in those three minutes, that you're actually on the air. 

[00:06:53] Iliana Raia: Exactly. And it lets you be natural and have a good time.

I think once you've got facts in your back pocket and data at your fingertips, you'll have a ball wherever you are. 

[00:07:02] Joya: Be well supported. I think about the five people I'm surrounded with all the time. What does this do? When it translates into me? 

I love that you said that because that was exactly Hoda Kotb's quote in the book. She said, "Surround yourself with the five people. Stop of the five people around you surround yourself with positive people."

[00:07:22] Iliana Raia: That was her point, but other people said it as well. Sudi Green, a writer from Saturday night live in response to a question how do you get a sketch on SNL said, "Surround yourself with people who inspire you. People who are funny and get creative with them." Amanda Hinley from the stock exchange.

Talked about surrounding yourself with people who would be supportive and brave. And I think taking real care to not your larger circle, obviously we wanna have a wide and robust circle, but the people who impact you every day, look around at a young age. Are these people supportive? Are they destructive?

Do they make you feel emboldened? Do they make you feel vulnerable? I don't know that there's an age where it's too early to be aware of that. 

[00:08:09] Joya: And yesterday I interviewed Laura Gassner Otting, and one of the pieces of tactical advice that she offered on this is we often think that these mentors, or we think that these five people that we surround ourselves with have to be in real life people, but they can actually be the folks that you have on your social feeds. And if you're getting daily notifications from them and they are forcing you to up level, that's another way to craft those five people that you surround yourself with. And it's a reinforcing mechanism. 

[00:08:35] Iliana Raia: Entirely, and it's a great way to use social media for good.

In the book we asked every woman who was in it to give her preferred social media handle. So where she is, whether that's LinkedIn or TikTok or Twitter, where she spends most of her time. And every one of them gave it, knowing that girls might DM them. I have another question I'd like to follow you. This is a tremendous opportunity to use social media, to follow people who do that which you might wanna do someday. Or who have interests that align with yours. Or work for a brand that you have an affinity for.

[00:09:07] Joya: And another favorite way of mine to reach someone who's done epic things is to read their memoirs. I may never meet Bob Iger, who was the former CEO of Disney, but he gave me a front row seat on how he was able to merge George Lucas. Marvel Pixar. And I forget what the fourth company was to create Disney plus, and you have a front row seat to having negotiated each and every single one of those alliances.

And so I feel like there's so much to learn from a mentor who may not necessarily be in person, but someone who's taken the time to put all of their learnings into a book. 

[00:09:41] Iliana Raia: Right. And the beauty of a memoir or something like that, a mentor on the page is you can take your time with it. You can put notes in the margin.

You can sit with that information and revisit it at your leisure. And that makes it all the more meaningful sometimes. 

[00:09:55] Joya: Be curious. I think a lot of people could benefit from this tip on many different fronts, but when it relates to mentorship, what are your thoughts? 

[00:10:03] Iliana Raia: Here I think what it means is the pivot. What I found from a lot of the answers, and it couldn't have been more timely coming out of the pandemic. Not just for the next generation looking at first jobs, but women onboarding back into new roles or who had stepped out during the pandemic.

And now are coming back in, perhaps taking a new path is be curious enough to embrace the pivot. Don Porter talks about how she left the practice of law to go make movies with Oprah. Valerie Loma actually ironically also left law to go and become a contest winning baker and has cookbooks out.

And she is literally baking the life she wanted. The idea that women have left medicine to go into the military or vice versa. The idea that there is flexibility that your career path is not necessarily a ladder anymore. Doesn't go in a straight line. We've heard the phrase, it's a jungle gym.

It's zigzags. But being curious enough to say, what if maybe this is not the last thing I'm supposed to do or the thing that I was meant to do forever? So I think leaving space for the pivot when you're young or in the middle of your career. That kind of curiosity is really beneficial. 

[00:11:14] Joya: So if a woman has already been a lawyer or an architect and is seeking a mentor, mid-career how would that advice be different than the advice you would offer someone matriculating from college?

[00:11:26] Iliana Raia: I don't know that it's different. I think you have more to stand on. You probably have more shared ground. You have more accomplishments to fall back on. You can draw more of a dotted line between this is what I was doing, and I am fascinated by what you are doing. And here are all the reasons why I'd love to have a conversation.

You're looking for a different type of mentorship. Maybe it's more inspirational. Maybe it's more of a springboard. You don't necessarily need a blueprint of how to conduct your career, but you need some direction. You need a little empowerment. I don't know that the tips are all that different. You're just at a different starting point.

[00:12:00] Joya: Well, what if the imposter syndrome kicks in? Because I hear that over and over again. Oh, I don't know that I would want, that person would wanna speak to me. How do you kick the imposter syndrome though in your mid-career? And so many years of defense mechanisms have built up. 

[00:12:15] Iliana Raia: It's tough. I think the thing I would keep remembering is she's been there exactly what you are thinking.

She has stood in those sneakers or shoes that you're standing in. And has thought about the same thing. Has weighed whether or not to raise her voice in that board meeting or that interview. Debated whether to raise her hand or not. She's been there. We all have. And it's incredibly hard to imagine when you see someone like yourself on TV, talking about current events, so polished and poised, but we have all been there.

And at any stage of your career, whether you are eyeing your first internship or exiting a job you've had for decades. Just always gonna be, I think a little imposter syndrome and the women you admire have all felt it. 

[00:13:01] Joya: What would be a sentence opener if you were to reach out to someone mid-career? I love scripts.

What would you say is a good script for somebody right now? Who's thinking about making that career switch and doesn't even know how to draft that email to the person. That's their moonshot mentor. 

[00:13:16] Iliana Raia: Oh, I love that moonshot mentor, by the way. It's a great question. I personally like offering something of value at the outset.

An idea, an article, perhaps they haven't seen a link to something. I think offering something right off the bat shows that you identify with what they do. And you're not just here to take. I think giving more than you take is always the way to go, but particularly in a first outreach. Michelle gee talks about that in the book, the idea of offering something at the outset that could be valuable to someone else.

I think that might be a way to start. 

[00:13:50] Joya: And the way to set up that value is to do a little bit of research to see what this person cares about. What are they posting about? What nonprofits are they allied with? 

[00:13:59] Iliana Raia: I think so. I think also seeing who else they might have mentored and being able to cheer them on. Everyone likes to see the people who they have inspired go on to do well and be recognized.

And you're showing that you value the fact that they have mentored others and you might not expect the same level of relationship with the two of you. But recognizing that they're in that space I think is important. 

[00:14:21] Joya: For folks who are just joining I'm interviewing Illiana Raia, who has written 'The Epic Mentor Guide'.

She has interviewed 180 boss women and asked them about their biggest takeaways when it comes to mentorship of those 180 people that you interviewed, who surprised you, like who gave you a piece of advice that you'd never considered before on mentorship? 

[00:14:42] Iliana Raia: Another great question. I like some of the women who talked about how they were probably expected to do one thing, and then they did something completely different.

We got questions about Dylan's candy bar from some of the girls, and Dylan Lauren said straight out, most people expected her to go into art or go into fashion. And she started a candy on fire. Lisa sugar, the founder of pop sugar, talked about her obsession with pop culture and how she turned that into a career. Women I think who solved problems they saw before them. Whether it was flavored water instead of soda with hint or the products where they found themselves to be the audience, the customer. I thought that was really interesting advice, Haben Girma, the first person to graduate Harvard law school deaf and blind was fascinating to me.

And she spoke not only about her advocacy for people who are disabled, but in general the challenges of going to law school under any circumstances. And I thought that she was really impactful and informative. And then there was some of the women the way they answered questions with such specificity.

We got a question from a high schooler in New Jersey asking about a patent. I have an idea for a product. I think it's a unique idea. How early is it to protect it with a patent? And how do I do that? And Audrey Sherman, who is 3M's a hundred patent woman. She holds over, I think 150 patents, for 3M didn't just say, well, stay true to yourself and follow your dreams.

She said you're, it's never too early. If it's a good idea. And let me walk you through the patent process. So I liked the specificity with which the women answered the questions. And I liked a lot of the answers where they talked about everyone expecting me to go left and I went right.

[00:16:25] Joya: Yeah, I've listened to Michelle Obama speak twice. Once at the Barclays center and once in DC. And she said that Barack taught her the art of the swerve. She was very much a linear thinker, very much the box checker. And then he came into her life and she often says that he was just the master of the swerve and getting to whatever it is that he wanted was never a linear line.

[00:16:45] Iliana Raia: I could see that in his career and I can see how that would resonate with her. I think for the next generation. In a way they're very good at that already. They are very good at the idea of jumping or pivoting. I find very few of the high school or college girls that I work with, who anticipate having one career their whole life, or staying with one firm.

When I came out of law school. It never occurred to me I would practice law anywhere, but my one firm. And I was there for a long time. I think in this day and age, seeing job options, a lot of these girls too recognize the fact that the job that they may have probably hasn't been invented yet. And we had women from the space station and women from NASA speak to that in the book. That what you need to develop are your skills, because the job that you're ultimately gonna hold probably isn't here yet.

[00:17:33] Joya: My colleague, Connie Seale wrote a book about the fact that this next generation is crafting their own job description and creating their own job. So they're even emboldened to go one step further and saying, 'Hey, I see that you need this. You haven't created it yet, but I'm the person to fill it.' 

[00:17:48] Iliana Raia: Right. I think that's true.

And I think how creative. And if we can just put the right role models in front of that generation at the right time early, when they're not too scared, when that confidence gap isn't too wide. And have them say, yeah, you're gonna solve problems that we don't even recognize yet, but here are some steps that are probably applicable in a lot of different industries.

And here are some skills that you need to start developing now. 

[00:18:13] Joya: Amazing Illiana I'm looking at the questions that are starting to come in. Deepti Matal has one of the top performing real estate teams here in New York City. And I know that she is staunchly in the top 25, but she wants to get to number one. So when somebody like that is in a very competitive industry, we know that real estate is very competitive in New York city.

The market is crazy. How would you recommend somebody like that and get a mentor? 

[00:18:39] Iliana Raia: I think it works both ways because I think that someone like that can easily ask a mentor for five things that she knows she wants to learn or develop and then can offer herself out as a mentor as well. There's all kind of reverse mentorship and peer mentorship, and she's got so much value to give as well.

But I think in terms of finding a mentor to get her from the twenties to number one, I would again get specific with what you wanna know, and I would not rest until that question is answered. And if the first five people you approach, can't give you the answer, ask them. Who else would you suggest I connect with?

I'm really keen on this particular skill or this particular piece of information. I love what you gave me. Could you recommend someone else I could speak with as well, keep leveraging up in terms of those mentors? I think everyone wants to highlight their friends, highlight other people that they've learned from. And I would just be relentless until you get the answers you want.

[00:19:33] Joya: But what if Deepti approaches someone and they're immediately on their back haunches because they really claw their way to number one, and they're not willing to give up the goods. So just for someone who's maybe trying this out for size for the first time, how do you not get stymied by that? 

[00:19:50] Iliana Raia: I suppose there are some people who are just not inclined to be good mentors.

They're not going to be sharers of information. They're not gonna make room on their platform. I find that disappointing in almost every industry and I find it rare among women. I will say with 180 asks, I sent five emails a day for a very long time. And. Very few people said no. And the ones that did say no said, "I'm just not the person to answer that, but let me give you to the woman who is, I know exactly who you need to speak with."

So I think that's rare among women, particularly women as they get more senior. I think sometimes you have to cut the loss. But I would just keep asking and I wouldn't make it artificial. If there's no authenticity in the relationship, if it's not gonna develop organically. And you feel that that person truly is not interested in helping you further your career or springboarding you from one place to another move on.

[00:20:45] Joya: Mary Glover is also on the line. Mary I'd love for you to put a question in the chat. Deepti if you have additional questions, you have carte blanche access to Illiana. Illiana I'm gonna go back to some of the basics here since we've covered off on your interviews, but what does mentorship matter? I imagine that mentorship.

I don't know, 30, 40 years ago when women were just entering the workforce is very different than today when women are in the C-suite now. Not many, but they're in there. So what would you say is different about mentorship today? 

[00:21:17] Iliana Raia: I think mentorship is being proven across the board to help the bottom line. Not just from the ground up and making sure that junior associates at a place have people to look to, but you know, Harvard business review says that 84% of CEOs say that mentors help them avoid costly mistakes when they were coming up. And 90% of people who are mentored are likely to mentor other people. So if you have something that is good for your company and fairly self sustaining, or if it's done well, it's gonna continue as a corporate culture.

I think companies are smart to instill formal mentorship programs in their businesses. It's good for their business. It's good for their people. And it keeps them there. I think senior people find it rewarding to give back. I found that again and again, with the book, how much people love to mentor, they were thrilled to answer.

And then they hoped that the relationship would continue, that girls would continue to ask questions. And I think it's important to know what you don't. And then not just say, I will wait for that information to come to me in some organic fashion. I'm gonna go out and find answers. And whether that means if you've been assigned a mentor and it's not the right person to add somebody else, or if you're young to say, I'm just gonna create my own informal board of directors. I'm just gonna find five or six people.

They don't have to be women, but five or six people who I think would help guide my career. Taking some ownership of your career. Through mentorship is always beneficial, but the added bonus now is that companies are realizing how valuable. 

[00:22:48] Joya: I once interviewed Michelle Cordero Grant who's the founder of live lead the lingerie company.

And when she first started her company, she made a list of all of her fears, and then she put a name next to it. And then she made it her business to make that person her best friend so that when customer service or some technical aspect of her business would break down at 3:00 AM, that person was someone that she could call.

When things were going awry. And so I wonder what you thought about that, because that then moves into a space of more than just a professional relationship. That actually becomes a little more.

[00:23:22] Iliana Raia: I think so. And I like the idea of pairing it with a fear. I think that is taking strong control over what you're nervous about and then who the right person is to help you.

And again, recognizing that you can't solve every problem on your own. I think there's some value in recognizing that mentors aren't necessarily cheerleaders and they're not always gonna just solve your problem. And that's it. Mentors are there to challenge your assumptions, to defy your expectations, to push you into harder territory.

Sometimes it's hard for us to get out of our own comfort zone and we like to be surrounded by people who are saying, oh, great job just as you are, don't change a thing. But a good mentor is someone who not only, you can reach out to for the scary stuff to help with the pain points, but who will then push you to solve your own problems and teach you to be the name next to that fear as they're pushing.

[00:24:10] Joya: They're pushing the onus back on you to not rob you of those critical problem solving skills Illiana, I'm gonna ask everybody who's listening in right now if you have a question, feel free to put it in the chat and I will ask that to Illiana. Illiana the next question is how to find a mentor this morning. I had a woman on one of my mastermind calls. She's gone from being an architect to being in the apparel space and she is upcycling sari's that had been worn before into modern day fashions. And she really needs to figure out a way to sell better. She's got a revenue number she wants to hit. How does she sell better? If she wants to find a mentor that's gonna help with her salesmanship? How would you say that she start that process?

[00:24:51] Iliana Raia: She's in a very unique space. So I think that she may have to broaden, and I love, love the idea of her company, by the way. I want that name from you. I think that's a very unique space. A lot of the time for me a starting point, it sounds silly, but something like LinkedIn. I think the way that you can slice and dice the information on LinkedIn. Who's a founder where have they started? Who they're connected to? Who might have mentored them in the past things that they've written?

It's such a rich source of information that going there first and seeing where you have overlap in your circle. It's such an easy thing to say to someone, you know, would you mind introducing me to this person? And if that's ever asked of me, if I can't do it, I will say right away. I don't have that kind of relationship, but where I can, I will always, always extend that introduction.

And that's an easy way to sort it by industry, by company name, by length of time in their position. So she could always start there. But again, with the very singular sector where she is, it might have to be word of mouth. And it might have to be something as simple as five cold emails a day. And asking her network who they might recommend. People are answering their own emails more and more.

I found this during COVID again, with reaching out for the book, people were answering their own DMS. They were responding on their own much more than they would have had they been traveling everywhere and were in the office every day. It's not a bad time for the cold email. 

[00:26:18] Joya: Mary Glover asked, " How do she wants to hear more about authentic approaches, proposing brand alliances?"

She heard me talk about Bob Iger and how he brokered the merger with Pixar George Lucas's, company and Marvel. Any thoughts on how to be more authentic when you're looking to do a strategic alliance like that? 

[00:26:40] Iliana Raia: I think certainly on the corporate side, when the brands make sense, when there's synergy, you're more than halfway there.

And so the numbers always have to make sense. Matching corporate culture is a tricky thing, but it is a personality thing. And at the end of the day, figuring out how values can dovetail together. Those are personal conversations. And to me, the more authentic those can be the more in person, the more deep and mission driven they can be.

And I feel like I'm using a lot of cliches, but I mean it. That organic relationship will help companies decide whether they can live together, whether they need to

separate later. Relationships for corporate entities are in a few ways, not unlike personal relationships and done in person, done with specificity. I think that's a good way to start when the brands have enough synergy to actually be together and side by side. . 

[00:27:38] Joya: Yeah. And Mary, I think if I'm hearing you right Illiana, one of the things that's often worth doing this exercise is figuring out what your values even are or what are your company's values?

I have a mastermind and I, one of the. First exercises that I have women do when they first come into the mastermind process is to figure out how they're hardwired. And their values are a big piece of it, because that becomes the north star. Whether you're going to find a partner, you're gonna hire someone, whether you're going to do anything in this world.

It's important to know like how your hardwired and your values are a big piece of that. 

[00:28:11] Iliana Raia: And knowing when you are well matched with someone else. If you have a good sense of your values and it's well said how you just put it knowing when someone else has complimentary skills or where a business has complimentary assets. Are you going to fit together like a puzzle in a way that's gonna last? And, you know, I had the founders of Serena Lily or the founder of the lawn dress.

They talked about finding their co-founder. And how that works. And when it might be time to, they didn't say separate from, but graduate from that partnership. And recognizing when that is, is in large part, as you said, knowing what your mission is and how you are hardwired, and then seeing where somebody else's complimentary skills will fit with yours.

[00:28:52] Joya: Yeah. Mary, just to revisit the brand alliance that Disney struck up with Pixar. Bob Iger looked at the treasure trove of things that Disney had created, but that was in the seventies. And now kids were more enamored with the 3d high definition graphics that Pixar was creating and he saw how he very quickly Disney was gonna fall out of the marketplace in terms of relevancy.

So it behooved to get into bed with Pixar, but who is the person pulling the marionette strings with Pixar? It was Steve jobs and Steve jobs was notoriously a very hard person to negotiate with. And he was also at that point, diagnosed with cancer. And that was looming over him, who was going to take over his company?

So knowing all of that, I think that it took many, many, many visits before bob Iger was able to get Steve jobs to agree to this Alliance, but there were a lot of things on a lot of roadblocks that he put up before that was possible. But for him, it was seeing that his technology, his animations were quickly gonna fall out of favor in the market.

And Pixar was going to be the next wave to keep Disney relevant. I don't know if that answers your question. The next question I have here Illiana is how to conduct a successful mentorship alliance. I think there's probably a lot of wrong ways to get a mentor, but I'd like to talk about the right ways to do it.

[00:30:16] Iliana Raia: Well, we've talked about the ask. We've talked about being specific and being fearless. I think being respectful is high on that list. Being respectful of the other person's time saying, could we meet for two hours or could we have dinner is just never gonna work at the outset. The person you wanna speak with is senior and experienced and expert and busy.

So starting off with a light ask, would you mind if I emailed you two question? Could I have 10 minutes of your time on the phone? Something that is a light ask and giving lots of room to say, if not this week, then next? Or if you've spoken with someone and you'd like to continue the relationship, could I check back with you in six months and email you another question? Making the ask light and respectful, I think is a very good first step forward.

[00:31:03] Joya: You suggested to Deepti that she could be a mentor. So if someone, if you're gonna flip the switch here and talk about how to be a good mentor, what would you recommend there? 

[00:31:13] Iliana Raia: Well for something likeEtra, we actually have a form on the website where you can fill it out and say, I have expertise in this, and I would love to mentor occasionally on zoom or however it works for you. Within your own company if there is a mentorship program, throwing your name in the hat early, I think is terrific. If you're a junior person, don't assume that you have nothing to teach somebody. There's so much whether it's tech or social media or what's new in the industry. Use your Pixar example. That you might want to be able to teach people who are senior to you.

And then certainly if you're senior giving back in your organization is vital. So putting your hat in the ring within your company is terrific. And then locally. There are clubs you could guest lecture at a university. You can write a piece talking about mentorship lessons you've learned, and then a inviting people to comment or speak with you.

 You can put up hours on a website and give free mentorship. There are so many ways to give back in an industry you love and most industries these days. Now that we're getting back to conferences and summits, have opportunity for breakout sessions and mentor moments and things like that. I think get creative with the different ways that you could mentor someone else.

And if you've got a particular likeness, if you would love to mentor people from your school or in your community or in an underserved community that you would like to really reach in and make an impact, just do it because there's no ceiling at this point to the height where you can take some of that. 

[00:32:44] Joya: Last question. What is a big not to do when you are seeking a mentor? 

[00:32:52] Iliana Raia: I think the entitled ask is a bad idea. The very general can I pick your brain. The very large could we meet for dinner? Would you be my mentor for life? These giant vague asks are just not only inappropriate. They're gonna push someone back, because you don't recognize their calendar and what they can give. And you don't know yet how useful they will be to you. So it shows a little bit of entitlement to give the big ask like that. I think also pursuing someone, if they say they are not the right person, if someone gracefully and respectfully says, I don't have the bandwidth, I don't have the time.

I don't believe I'm the right person for you. If you've asked them to suggest someone else. Terrific. Move on. But don't pester. Respect what they are saying and then find the right mentor because the relationship needs to feel right from the start and boundaries need to be respected from the very beginning.

So don't over ask and then don't persist. If you feel like it's not the gonna be the right person. 

[00:33:53] Joya: Illiana, This has been great. If anyone wants to work with you, if anyone wants to get your book, they wanna engage with you. What's the best way to get ahold of you? 

[00:34:00] Iliana Raia: Our website is Etre girls.com. It's E T R E girls.com.

We are at Etro girls everywhere on social media. DM me with have a million ways to get involved. And I just don't think there's anything better than encouraging people to raise their hands and ask the questions so that no one's lowering their standard. 

[00:34:20] Joya: Amazing. And I will finish with the fact that Illiana, I have a mastermind for women that are at a critical inflection point.

They have some certainty around a goal. Maybe it's mentorship, maybe it's a promotion. And they wanna realize that in a year. They could sit in three years and hope for it to maybe come to fruition or we can put a real plan around it. And so I'm now enrolling for that next cohort, which starts in October. And if anybody would like to get involved or be enrolled in that mastermind, you can always email me at Joya@joyadass.com. I put that up there. I'm making these banners on the fly as I go. Illiana, always great to meet with you. I remember seeing your first interview on a morning show and you were as crisp as you were then.

Thank you so much. 

[00:35:03] Iliana Raia: Well, you made it just as easy. I had a blast. 

[00:35:04] Joya: Thank you. Take care. Bye.