Many of us can identify a person in our own lives that we consider a mentor-maybe it was a great boss, a former professor or your high school sports coach. These are the people who guided and supported us along the way. And now, we have the opportunity to do the same for someone else- to be a positive force in another’s life.

Barb True, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska vice president of claims and support services, has been mentoring through Girls Inc. for several years.

“In the past, I volunteered in ways I knew made a difference, such as board service and donating resources and time,” True said. “However, I rarely made personal contact with those I was serving. Having the privilege of connecting directly with a child or individual in need is both humbling and fulfilling.” Barb sees mentoring as a gift of perspective by witnessing the resilience of the youths she mentors.

January was National Mentoring Month, and here at BCBSNE, we have many employees who are passionate about mentoring. These relationships not only impact the mentee, but can also be a growing experience for the mentor. It’s an opportunity to improve interpersonal relationship skills and practice active listening.

Amy Bailey, BCBSNE senior director of marketing, has been on both the giving and receiving side of mentoring. “The element I value most in my mentoring relationships is the opportunity to have an open, unbiased forum to discuss my thoughts and concerns,” said Amy. “I’ve been fortunate to have mentors who are gracious with their time. Their most impactful guidance has always been delivered through asking thoughtful questions which allowed me to arrive at my own conclusions and decisions.”

Active listening, empathy and most importantly, role modeling are all pieces of what Amy feels makes an effective mentor. She recently joined the Midlands Mentoring Partnership board of directors to continue to promote and expand mentoring programs in the community.

“Having someone in your corner who selflessly listens and encourages you to think differently and more expansively is a powerful, powerful gift,” Bailey commented.

At BCBSNE, we are strong supporters of mentoring and the positive impact it has in our community. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, Midlands Mentoring Partnership is a great resource to connect you with a variety of opportunities.