Mentoring In 2024: How To Make A Positive Impact!

We spoke to Aloysia Jean and Raquel Figueroa of PeerForward to find the best way to get started on the path of mentorship!

Women walking down a hallway with smiles
Photo by Alexander Suhorucov

Mentorship has the power to shape the path of careers, foster innovation, and create a space for inclusion. We surveyed our readers and found that both the mentors and the protégés in our group agree that mentorship has positively impacted their lives— both personally and professionally.

What is your relationship with mentorship? Have you ever been mentored? And if so, did it make a difference in your life? We recently spoke to Aloysia Jean and Raquel Figueroa of PeerForward, and we were enlightened to learn that the act of mentorship is actively helping to bridge the gap for students in under-served communities. 


PeerForward is a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. that’s confronting the urgent crisis of education inequity faced by schools in under-resourced communities.

During our conversation, we discussed a wide range of topics surrounding mentorship, including how we should approach mentoring in 2024 to make a profound impact on our communities. Keep scrolling to get some fresh insight.

The Joy of Mentoring

Raquel Figueroa of PeerForward

Becoming a mentor has many benefits, both personally and professionally. Raquel Figueroa, who serves as the Managing Director of Program and Innovation for PeerForward, notes how helping someone achieve their goals can prove to be an enlightening experience.

“Mentoring is an excellent opportunity to grow professionally because it allows you to grow with your protégés,” Figueroa explains. “When I can share a new perspective to allow the person to approach a challenge in a new way, I am also gaining a new perspective. It requires that I step back and allow them to share, grow, and shine.”

Aloysia Jean of PeerForward

Aloysia Jean, who serves as the Digital Marketing Manager and mentor at PeerForward, echos the same sentiments. “There is so much to learn when it comes to mentoring. In my time as a coach, I am never surprised by the wisdom I receive from our students. It’s been the greatest reminder that you can receive knowledge from anyone at any age,” she adds. 

Misconceptions About Mentoring

A common misconception about mentoring is that the experience is one-sided. Both ladies say that’s farthest from the truth. Instead, they emphasize the importance of having mutual understanding and communication to ensure a successful mentor-protégé relationship.

“First, the mentor and the protege should establish and agree on how they will work together, as well as meeting times, rules around confidentiality, and accountability to one another,” Figueroa explains. “The protégé’s agreement and full participation in how the mentorship will operate is critical to the success of the experience.”

Furthermore, Figueroa points out that for the protégé to learn how to open up and be vulnerable, a mentor needs to be at ease displaying vulnerability. “The practice of being vulnerable is hard work. However, it is crucial to establish a level playing field on which information, knowledge, and understanding transfer can play out,” she adds. 

Photo of "You Got This" sign
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

The Right Mindset For Mentorship

Figueroa believes the right mindset involves a collective goal that both the mentor and mentee/protégé not only agrees on, but is invested in. “In the same way that others have poured into me and given me opportunities to grow, I must also invest in my protégés to do the same. Putting their growth and development at the forefront of my work and intentions creates a space of trust in me,” she shares.

Qualities And Skills Needed For Mentoring

Jean believes that mentors need to be vulnerable, open-minded, graceful, and consistent in communication.

“Mentorship takes building a connection so that protégés feel safe to grow and seek guidance,” she advises. “Being vulnerable enough to share your story, and your why is an important step in that process. Being open-minded gives protégés the space to discuss whatever is most important to them.”

Mentoring During The Technology And Digital Age

Technology has allowed us to be more connected than ever before, which is a huge benefit to the mentorship space. However, with the abundance of tech, mentors must be especially versed in how to build an authentic rapport with protégés. 

women working together

“We saw from the COVID-19 quarantine that virtual connections, while helpful and convenient, can fall flat when it comes to building a strong, meaningful bond or relationship,” Jean explains. “Being a mentor in the digital age means that you’re competing for attention and relevance with people who have access to knowledge/career advice from YouTube.”

This means that a mentor needs to improve their emotional intelligence to understand and respond to the emotions of their protégé. According to Jean, Generation Y and Z are known for not staying in one position for long. That’s why it is important to encourage them to network and ask questions.

“Having mentors who can connect you with a wider network makes it much easier to pivot positions, industries, and career tracks,” she explains. “Mentors can also provide crucial guidance and insight about pay scales and salary negotiations, especially for those who are handling those conversations for the first time.”

Industries and Professions Where Mentorship Is Needed

According to Jean, mentorship is highly needed in the technology space. “There are so many new emerging technologies out there, I feel like mentorship in tech spaces is especially crucial,” she mentions.

Overall, Figueroa reminds us that mentoring is all about listening to what the protégé is saying (and not saying). It’s all about listening to understand, not to judge or provide a solution. Ask for permission to engage in a mentorship with the person and to provide feedback.  

Finally, practice empathy and compassion to see the best results. “Overall, your job is to listen,” she concludes.

Heather Elitou is the Senior Managing Editor at BrownStyle Magazine, where her expertise has led to the publication's success. A devoted mother of three brilliant young women and a loving wife, she finds joy in nurturing her family. Beyond her professional and family life, Heather enjoys savoring the delights of a well-crafted cheese board. She is also known for her love of soulful conversations about living a soft life.