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Mentorship on LinkedIn

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Mentorship on LinkedIn

  1. 1. Navigating the University Experience, with Guidance from a Mentor “I think of mentors as a reflection of yourself in the future. When I find mentors, I say to myself, that’s going to be me someday.” - Maranyeli Estrada-Sagrero “I’m big on getting advice,” says Maranyeli Estrada-Sagrero, a junior at San Jose State University. “I always look for people who can give me guidance. Not just about school, but about how I can make myself into who I want to be.” Estrada-Sagrero’s ambition comes in part from her desire to achieve the educational dreams of her parents, who arrived in the United States from Mexico when Estrada-Sagrero was six years old. As young parents and recent immigrants, Estrada-Sagrero’s mother and father weren’t able to attend college themselves. “They always told me that getting a good education was so important,” Estrada-Sagrero says. When Estrada-Sagrero transferred from a small junior college to a much bigger university campus in order to complete her education, she suddenly had questions about her classwork, post-graduation career plans, and how to balance studying and part-time work without getting overwhelmed. Since her parents couldn’t offer advice, Estrada-Sagrero turned to LinkedIn’s career mentorship program, which matches young adults with LinkedIn members for one-to-one career coaching, to help answer her questions. That’s how she met Christian Buhlmann, a Portland-Oregon technology executive and owner of business consultancy Sea Change Effect.
  2. 2. “I attribute my own career success in large part to the mentors I’ve had,” Buhlmann says. “When I got into the corporate world, I always looked for mentors who could help me understand and practice the abilities I needed to advance further.” He decided to become a mentor himself when one of his own mentors said to him, “How will you start giving back?” LinkedIn’s career mentorship program was a great answer. It gave Buhlmann the ability to set up virtual coaching sessions that worked with his busy schedule, especially since he could coach by phone or video call. After being connected by the LinkedIn mentorship program, Buhlmann and Estrada-Sagrero traded some initial emails. On the surface, they seemed like very different people. “Chris is older than I am, and not from the same background,” Estrada-Sagrero says. But the mid-career executive and the ambitious daughter of immigrant parents hit it off from their first conversation. Estrada-Sagrero picked Buhlmann’s brain about the shift to a university with tens of thousands of students. “Community colleges are so much smaller,” Estrada-Sagrero says. “I knew I needed help.” Estrada-Sagrero also worried about making time for schoolwork in light of her part-time job as office manager for a software company. “I was feeling overwhelmed,” she says. “I asked Chris, how do I get through this?” Buhlmann sympathized with Estrada-Sagrero’s concerns about the challenging new environment. He suggested that Estrada-Sagrero dial down her work hours and talked through some ideas for how she could get active in campus life so that her college experience could be more fun. That was just what Estrada-Sagrero needed to hear. “He said, in the end, do what makes you happy – otherwise it’s not worth it,” she says. “I felt really good hearing that.” Being Mentored, And Paying It Forward The beauty of their career coaching relationship, say Buhlmann and Estrada-Sagrero, is that so much can be accomplished in short sessions and without the need to meet in person. “It was easy to find an hour out of my day to talk to him,” Estrada-Sagrero says. Buhlmann agrees: “I’m on the go a lot, so it can be a struggle to commit to something that requires me to show up somewhere – whereas I could do this because it wasn’t limited to a physical location.” The happy surprise for both Buhlmann and Estrada-Sagrero was how much they’ve enjoyed the coaching. “I was prepared to get a student who was like, ‘yeah, whatever’ – but Maranyeli is so engaged and asking so many questions,” Buhlmann says. “I was thrilled to see someone like her taking the bull by the horns and going after her opportunity – especially knowing how her family came here and had this dream for her.” The mentor and mentee also see themselves in each other. “We’re not afraid to ask for help – that’s one way that Maranyeli and I are very similar,” Buhlmann says of his own desire to seek out mentors. “And people want to help those who want to be helped.” “I think of mentors as a reflection of yourself in the future,” Estrada-Sagrero says. “When I find mentors, I say to myself, that’s going to be me someday.” Coaching Sessions With Big Impact GET INVOLVED