Empowering Women to Reach Their Career Goals—JVS’ Innovative WoMentoring Partnerships Help Break the Glass Ceiling

Mentor Eileen Goodis and mentee Heather Wilk.

Mentor Eileen Goodis and mentee Heather Wilk.

There is a Chinese proverb: “Give someone a fish and you feed him for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Every day, local nonprofit JVS is helping people overcome employment barriers during these challenging economic times.
Among JVS’ prestigious programs is WoMentoring – Women Helping Women Through Career Mentoring, celebrating its ele-venth year. Free to eligible participants, each mentee is paired with a mentor who is a successful professional woman with an established career. The mentor provides guidance and support as the mentee pursues her career goals.
Describing the impact of her mentor, successful businesswoman Eileen Goodis, 22-year old Heather Wilk said, “Eileen has been beyond supportive for the past year. She has encouraged me from day one, supporting my goals as an entrepreneur. WoMentoring is a great way to connect with women who have dealt with your struggles and succeeded.”
Recent CSUN graduate Tatiana Kahlina, who emigrated from Russia on her own, was mentored by Warner Bros. Executive Director of Promotions, Danielle Finkel. “Danielle not only gave me insightful tips, she helped me develop the necessary skills to be successful in my marketing career,” said Tatiana.

Mentee Tatiana Kahlina and mentor Danielle Finkel.

Mentee Tatiana Kahlina and mentor Danielle Finkel.

Supervised by JVS’ experienced career counselors, the WoMentoring program runs from October through June, and culminates in an elegant luncheon honoring all of the mentor/mentee partnerships. This year’s luncheon was held on June 10, and featured keynote speaker Jackie Kallen, “The First Lady of Boxing,” whose life was the inspiration for the film “Against The Ropes” starring Meg Ryan. Ms. Kallen delighted the audience with stories of her own circuitous road to success, and the tremendous impact her mentors had on the direction of her professional life.
The most important recent development in the growth of the WoMentoring program was the establishment of the donor-supported WoMentoring Leadership Network (WLN), co-chaired by Debbie Powell, Judy Flesh Rosenberg and Eileen Coskey Fracchia. The mission of the WLN is to empower, educate and support women through WoMentoring and JVS’ career and training services. Member benefits include tickets to two exclusive events, which have ranged from private screenings to art exhibits. The WoMentoring program is sponsored in part by the members of the WLN, Debbie and Rick Powell, Union Bank and Wells Fargo, and is currently accepting applications for the 2009-10 session, which begins in the fall.
Founded in 1930, JVS is L.A.’s first and most experienced non-profit dedicated to helping people of all faiths and backgrounds achieve economic independence through career counseling, training programs and job search assistance.

The WLN is open to new members year round. To find out how you can make a difference and get involved with this exciting donor-driven program, contact Pat Sills at (323) 761-8888 x8594 or e-mail  psills@jvsla.org. If you are interested in becoming a mentee or mentor, please contact Bobbi Yanke at (818) 464-3327 or e-mail byanke@jvsla.org. To learn more about JVS, visit www.jvsla.org.

Adréana Robbins is a freelance writer and can be reached at arobbins@tolucantimes.com.

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