Mentoring by Design

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Systergy, n. A group of women, who by daring and dreaming together, make synergistic contributions to themselves and the world.

When 17 year-old Emily Trujillo wanted to learn more about interior design, she asked St. Louis designer Dana King for help. Determined to provide Emily with a hands-on experience, Dana approached the local Habitat for Humanity about decorating a newly-built home. As Dana partnered with additional interior designers, and Emily recruited her friends, the design team, including the Berry family, swelled to thirty.

The goal? Make the Berry house a home.


Drawing on the shampoo and style metaphor, let's identify the elements of systergy:

1) Even though it must have taken courage for Emily to ask for help, knowing Dana as I do, Emily undoubtedly knew it was safe to ask: Dana would be a competent and caring mentor.

2) Many would have discounted Emily's ambitions because she's 17. Dana King didn't. Instead she created a forum where Emily could learn many aspects of interior-design, including accommodating her client and how to collaborate with fellow designers. In other words, Dana was able to see the magnificence in Emily, and was willing to create a situation in which Emily could become her own see-er.
Source: Katherine Bish

3) In the thick of mentoring Emily, Dana made new friends in the community, broadened her skills as both an interior designer and project manager. Dana also discovered a philanthropic organization (Habitat for Humanity) with whom she would like to partner going forward. Contrary to generally-held opinion, in a sustainable mentor-mentee relationship, there is a give and get for both parties.

And that's as it should be.

Because we only really dream when we are together.

What would you like to learn?

In whose capable hands will you feel safe?

How can you create a win-win for all involved?

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