Mentorship: Join WPI at WFRI to Experience the Power of Mentoring

My boss (2006-2009) and Missouri mentor, Mindy Mazur, who stewarded me through my early political career. We still support one another by sharing ideas, building the leadership pipelines across the country, and generally commiserating about the current state of affairs.

My work in social change and political advocacy are defined by the women who brought me up in the world. These women have helped me appreciate the profound power of mentorship.

The career I have today was unfathomable to me as a naive Missouri farm girl. Then I met Mindy. She was a manager and chief of staff who hired me as an intern and wouldn’t let me go. She coached and navigated me around every career pivot and barrier. Networks are a constellation of mentors, pipelines, alma maters – professional and personal associations. Often these networks are implicit. They help us overcome the divide between those who were born into the norms of public service and those of us who stumble upon public service after strife and righteous indignation call us to change the world. 

Because of my own transformative experiences with mentoring, I’m excited to spread the word about the 2019 Women’s Policy Institute – a free professional and personal growth opportunity to catalyze more women leaders in Rhode Island. 

Study after study demonstrates that when we believe and deliver on gender parity in City Hall, the State House, or the boardroom, we shift culture. And you know what they say about culture – it eats strategy for breakfast. Where we pretend and dance around authentic gender equity, we don’t accomplish the innovation that women in leadership can spearhead. Women take into account so many factors for how our decisions affect others and how resources should be used for the advancement of our families, futures, and community. Gender parity will help us solve some of our most pressing societal problems, but we have to change public institutions and corporate cultures

As the facilitator for the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island’s 2019-2020 Women’s Policy Institute (WPI), I take it as a personal mission to mentor and unlock the potential for each participant to become their own best advocate. WPI is a cohort leadership program that provides a unique opportunity the advancement of gender equity in Rhode Island for generations to come. The nine-month program supports developing soft and hard skills for public relations, policy, networking, and advocacy. Moreover, we want to ensure participants come away with a strong orientation on how to map power and influence policy outcomes.  Participants will find ways to leverage the skills and networks to engage the system – this isn’t just an academic exercise. We have much work to do. Here are a few R.I. reports on the status of women and families to fire you up.

Deadline to apply is August 16. We hope to see you in the mix. 

P.S. And if you’re not already a mentor, consider who you can help along this year. If you don’t have a mentor, think about who you admire and whom you could learn from and make the ask. We all need a cohort to get the work done. There’s never been a more critical time than now! 


Philanthropy Women covers funding for gender equity in all sectors of society. We want to significantly shift public discourse, particularly in philanthropy, toward increased action for gender equality. You can support our work and access unlimited and premium content with one of our subscriptions.

Author: Paula Hodges

Paula Hodges is founder of Anchor Strategies, which works with individual donors and organizational funders to re-think their philanthropic giving by layering on political and advocacy funding, building more robust, state based progressive infrastructure donor alliances. She was the founding Executive Director of New Hampshire Progress Alliance, New England's first pooled investment fund for incubating durable, permanent progressive infrastructure.

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