November continues with conversations about women leading through mentoring and supervising. In today’s episode I talk with Mandy Balek-Stephens, who has spent her career guiding students, their families, and young professionals in the workplace to explore what matters to them: their studies, their passions, their paths, and their identities. Mandy leads by practicing empathy and gratitude.
Here’s the episode at a glance:
>> 01:22. Women in the workplace: what we are and aren’t allowed to say, and why.
>>05:20: Today’s purpose: exploring what the world of work can be like when we seek out, support, and embrace differences at work.
>>06:00. Racial demographics of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), and how those reflect Milwaukee demographics (they don’t, really), and how they are distributed at a few particular schools within the system.
>>11:19. Introduction to Mandy and her approach to mentoring young professionals working within a racially diverse setting devoted to academic achievement and success for historically-and-still-excluded students.
>>14:30. Welcome Mandy, to the show!
>>15:00. Mandy describes the people and attitudes that shaped *her* as a young professional that she brings forward into her own work mentoring others. She shares a story about how a previous supervisor turned Mandy’s inexperience into a lesson on how to listen with empathy.
>>22:42. Mandy shares an overview of The Schuler Scholar Program. 👈 Learn more!
>>26:34. Mandy paints a picture of the staff at The Schuler Scholar program at Golda Meir: many of them have been Schuler Scholars and are back to pay it forward and expand the reach and impact for future college-bound students.
>>31:12. Mandy describes how she creates a culture that welcomes, values, and supports her staff of young professionals in order to build trusting, successful relationships.
>>42:18. Mandy discusses how important it is for supervisors to plan for and prepare their team for promotions, especially when folks need to be primed and prepped to see themselves as promote-able. It’s so important to go into these conversations thoughtfully.
>>47:22. Mandy has a longstanding commitment to creating welcoming and inclusive spaces. She shares examples of practical things she does to create an environment where strong working relationships thrive for the whole team. For her, this is fundamentally about being people together before they are workers together. She shares an activity I’ll be borrowing: a gratitude grab-bag.
>>56:12. Mandy shares her thoughts on the challenges in higher ed related to “authenticity” and “transparency” at work. Ultimately, she makes the point that we need to both model transparency and authenticity, as well as being explicit about the ways we value the ways our teams show up at work.
>>1:00:58. Mandy talks about successful outcomes for Schuler Scholars, including graduating from a highly-selective college with little or no debt.
References & further reading:
Learn more about demographics at Milwaukee Public Schools: https://mps.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/en/District/About-MPS/School-Board/Office-of-Accountability-Efficiency/Public-Items-Emjay/District-Enrollment.htm
General information about The Schuler Scholar Program.
If you’re a teacher or administrator at a high school and you’re interested in partnering with The Schuler Program, here’s where you can learn more about joining: https://www.schulerprogram.org/join-us/prospective-high-schools
Learn more about Jenny Bloom and Appreciative Advising: https://www.appreciativeadvising.net/jennifer-bloom.html
TedTalks on Gratitude:
Christina Costa on how gratitude rewires the brain: https://www.ted.com/talks/christina_costa_how_gratitude_rewires_your_brain?language=en
andKerry Howells on the value of gratitude in the classroom as part of your teaching practice: https://www.ted.com/talks/christina_costa_how_gratitude_rewires_your_brain?language=en
and Mandy’s recommended Ted Talk on gratitude at work:
References and Resources
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