Speed mentoring: a mutually beneficial connection

Speed mentoring: a mutually beneficial connection

Individuals who have a mentor are five times more likely to be promoted than those who do not participate in a mentorship program. Twenty-five percent of those who participated in a mentoring program experienced a salary-grade change.

These are just a few examples of the positive benefits mentorship can have on one’s career, both for a mentee and a mentor. In June, members of United Way’s United Young Leaders (UYL) society joined together at Schlafly Tap Room one evening for the group’s first-ever speed mentoring event, engaging in short, focused conversations with local leaders from a variety of companies and industries.

Attendees also gained wisdom and experience from guest speaker Arica Harris, Director Banking and Payment Operations at Edward Jones and Vice Chair of the 2022 United Way campaign.

Harris started the evening by emphasizing the importance of mentorship and how valuable it has been throughout her own career journey. “Formal education and experience will teach you the nuts and bolts of how to do certain job functions, but there is a component of development that can be accelerated when you’re able to connect with someone you see yourself in and can emulate,” says Harris. She highlighted some key lessons learned along the way.


1. Pay it forward.
Whether serving as a mentor or mentee, both roles have experience and knowledge to share. When you have been mentored and learn tips along the way, share them with others.

2. Listen and accept good and not-so-great mentoring feedback.
Gaining feedback is invaluable. It’s important to listen. Getting positive feedback is great, but learning from the not-so-great feedback is also important. Positive feedback gives you the opportunity to admire the work you’ve done and pat yourself on the back, while constructive criticism gives you an insight into areas where you can improve. Both are crucial to your overall development.

3. Mentoring is a two-way relationship.
There are lessons to learn and knowledge to share from both sides. Naturally, as a mentee, you gain from the experience of those who have traveled your path. As a mentor, you may also benefit from learning about an area the mentee is passionate about. Mentorship is useful to both participants at every stage, change, and chapter of life.

4. Form your personal board of directors.
A personal board of directors is your expert panel of people you admire or who have certain expertise you value and need. They may not necessarily know it, but it is typically the person you reach out to when you need advice in specific areas. Remember to reciprocate as well.


Mentorship at any stage of your career can be mutually beneficial. Take the opportunity to learn from another individual’s journey. It may just lead to a career boost!

More about Arica Harris
Before her current role at Edward Jones in 2013, Harris spent 17 years in public accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Deloitte & Touche, supervising risk consulting, internal co-sourcing, and external IT audit projects. At Deloitte & Touche, she also developed and facilitated learning programs, events and firmwide initiatives focused on recruitment, professional development, and diversity and inclusion.

Harris founded and continues to chair the St. Louis Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP), a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on increasing the number of college-bound minority representation within the fields of accounting, finance, and business management. She also serves as vice chair on the Missouri Baptist Foundation board and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and the National Association of Black Accountants.


About United Young Leaders
United Young Leaders is an affinity group of United Way of Greater St. Louis focused on giving, volunteerism and professional development. Members 35-years-old and younger come together to work on our region’s most pressing issues while gaining essential leadership skills.


Take Action Now:

  • Learn more about United Young Leaders and their upcoming events.
  • Be part of the next generation of local leaders and philanthropists. Join UYL today.
  • Share this story with friends and family.


Ninette Querimit
Ninette Querimit