-By Angelica Wedell-
This is the fourth of a four part series on local government mentorship.
Laura Savage is the Administrative Clerk for the Pueblo West Metropolitan District in Colorado, and has worked in local government for the last ten years. Although she started working for the metropolitan district in her 20s, Savage hadn’t originally planned a career in local government. Her love of the profession quickly took hold as she moved up the ladder and continues to do so. Savage is heavily involved with her community on a personal level and mentors grade-school children. She also regularly contributes to ELGL on social media. In this interview, Savage explains how mentorship can open doors to unexpected opportunities.
Angelica: Why is mentorship important?
Laura Savage: Mentorship is important to foster growth - professionally and personally – and to provide direction in the unknown. Mentors are the bow to your arrow; they help guide your aim for a target and propel you forward. But ultimately, you must be resilient enough to endure a strong breeze in order to follow the guided trajectory.
Who has been a mentor in your own life? What did they do for you?
I’ve had a few mentors. One of them, Yvonne Strain was the Operations Manager while I worked as a cashier at Gart Sports during college. Ms. Strain demanded nothing but excellent customer service - which entailed greeting every customer as they entered the store, answering the phone within three rings and always counting back change. In addition, she pushed me to learn the back-office computer system, which eventually led me to accepting a position in the IT department at the Sports Authority corporate office. Lesson learned – always be kind to people and pay attention to the little things. Eventually they add up to the big things. The big things take you places.
Why have you decided to take on a mentor role?
Recently I began participating in the Pueblo County United Way Mentorship Program. My mentee is a sixth grader at a local middle school, which I know can be a rough time [in life]. I want to be a role model and plant seeds for the little things. Water the seeds. Watch the seeds grow.
What's one career/life lesson you've learned that you'd like to share with others?
Do not be afraid to say “yes” but be smart enough to say “no” when you need to. And, according to my mother, “Be kind to one another, and pick up after yourself.”
This article originally appeared on ELGL.org