Mining for Mentors and More: Q&A with Kristen Hopkins '09

Mining for Mentors and More: Q&A with Kristen Hopkins '09

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Kristin Simonetti
September 23, 2014

Author, business owner, entrepreneur - Kristen Hopkins '09 has achieved a lot in the five short years since she left The Washington Center. Fall 2014 interns had a chance to ask the alumna for tips on following in her footsteps after her Career Boot Camp keynote - and her advice applies just as well to TWC alumni as it does to students.

 

What's one book you'd recommend we read?

 

Who Says You Can't, by Dr. Kingsley Fletcher. I came away from that book thinking I could take over the world!

 

How do you become comfortable taking risks?

 

I plan my risks. I know that sounds strange, but I plan enough to get me by. I plan what I'm going to do and when. It also helps to have support. Tell someone you trust what you're going to do so they're aware of your plan.

 

How do you find mentors?

 

I have mentors from all different fields, genders, races, ages. Research them. Plan to go into a partnership, and make sure they're genuine in wanting to help you.

 

How do you approach mentors?

 

Invite them to meet, but prepare fully for your meeting. You wouldn't go into a job interview without preparing - so go into your first meeting with a mentor the same way. Tell them exactly what you want to do in your career, and give them something that gets their attention. Why should they help you? What do you bring to the table for them? And feel them out - it's like making a friend. You know when you like someone, and you know when you don't.

 

When you meet someone at a networking event or somewhere else, how do you stay connected?

 

I ask for a business card, and when I get it, right away I right down on the back where I met them and what they had on. It helps me to remember what they look like. In the next two days, make sure you follow up with the person. Before you reach out, think about how they can help you or how you can help them. Who do they know that you need, and who do you know that they need? Connect the dots.

 

For photos from Fall 2014's Career Boot Camp, please visit the Flickr album.

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