This piece has originally been published on the Founders and Mentors platform.
Mandy Sanghera is an award-winning philanthropist who has been working on human rights for over three decades. She has a generous amount of world TV appearances, and public speaking engagement, and last year she participated in the US House of Representatives for the third year in a row. She’s well known and very acknowledged in the area among global leaders, and has helped hundreds of individuals in person. This help is now reaching thousands of people through social media, covering the topics of human rights, forced marriages for both kids and people with disabilities, and a lot of other topics that are very important and close to the heart for many people. Unlike many others, Mandy takes action and does it in a very direct way.
Our conversation evolved around such important topics as mentoring and diversity, but one phrase really stuck with me: “send the elevator back down to the people, after you have climbed the ladder.”
When I asked Mandy about her understanding of leadership, besides mentioning such things like being in the front and making sure that people follow you, she was very passionate saying that after doing so well herself, and smashing the “glass ceiling”, she has become a floor for others to walk on. She loves helping others, and keeps repeating that it’s very important to send that elevator down to people and make their path to success easier than the path you had to take as a discoverer climbing up the ladder. This will help lift others off the sticky floor and inspire people to grow to their full potential.
Mandy also talks about the fact that when she was building her career one of the most challenging things she had to face was that when she was competing with so many other people, there were women who were at the top, but they would never give a seat to someone else because they were holding onto it. So, she says, if they’re at the table with the men in the boardroom, they would not allow another woman to come in. That’s when Mandy started thinking why people aren’t giving everyone a chance? Why are we not looking at mentoring?
So she decided to be somebody who pulls up a chair. Every single woman that turns up, even if she doesn’t believe she brings something to the table, still has valuable input and perspectives to contribute with. Mandy wants to keep bringing every woman into the boardroom, to that table. So for Mandy it was a very conscious decision to make sure that people were represented not just from gender, but age and ethnicity, whether they were able-bodied and disabled, that everyone could participate. It’s about giving back and sharing so that you have it a little bit easier. This is about mentoring.
So, Mandy says, if you’re in a position to mentor somebody, please do. It’s really important that we pass the opportunity forward. Those who made it to the top – please send the elevator back down and, since we all have biases, be aware of them and be prepared to challenge yourself and call yourself and address those biases that you have. Your mentee can absolutely help you with that!