I recently shared a comment about mentoring women who are interested in business. (Others can talk to mentors in other fields, but this is my area of expertise.) I thought I would make a post out of my comments.

I’ve been involved in mentoring students (mostly women in business students) for over a decade, and the topic of Mormon women, motherhood, education and the tension women sometimes feel with LDS teachings of family first + education/preparation is something I’ve been passionate about for a long time.

First, the thoughts and quotes:

I often like to say that we as women need to learn to “dance in the tension.” I think we need to be absolutely unflinching about the doctrine of marriage and motherhood, and that can be done while also encouraging education and deliberate (yet open-to-revelation-as-life-unfolds) professional preparation and planning. I believe that when we embrace the doctrine lean into this tension, God can and will guide us in His very personal way.

I think, also, when women can understand that education helps prepare them to serve in the kingdom however and wherever they may be led/called, it can add more of a ‘whole’ to the whole issue rather than being framed as an either/or scenario.

Mary Cook gave an excellent talk on this subject at BYU a few years ago (summary here:http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/58136/More-fit-for-the-kingdom-more-used-would-I-be.html). Some of the ideas that she shared in that talk also appeared in this New Era article: https://www.lds.org/new-era/2009/04/more-fit-for-the-kingdom?lang=eng

I also think this talk by a female BYU-I professor captures the tension beautifully. http://www.byui.edu/Documents/instructional_development/Perspective/V7n2PDF/v7n2_hurley.pdf

Lastly, this quote from Eliza R. Snow is one of my favorites:

“Don’t you see that our sphere is increasing? Our sphere of action will continually widen, and no woman in Zion need[s] to mourn because her sphere is too narrow.

“God bless you, my sisters, and encourage you, that you may be filled with light, and realize that you have no interests but in the welfare of Zion. Let your first business be to perform your duties at home. But, inasmuch as you are wise stewards, you will find time for social duties because these are incumbent upon us as daughters and mothers in Zion. By seeking to perform every duty you will find that your capacity will increase, and you will be astonished at what you can accomplish.” (quoted in Daughters in My Kingdom)

I think consecration and personal revelation are key to dancing in the tension. I believe God cares about what we have to offer, and yet He offers, first, all that He has to offer if we will seek to follow His plan. I believe firmly that as we do this, and seek His guidance, He will lead us in how, when, and where to use the talents He has given us all along our life’s path. He’s the best mentor there is!

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Resources for women who are interested in connecting with female mentors or others interested in business:

– BYU Management Society. There are women in business involved in chapters all over the world. Some chapters have specific women’s groups to help with networking and mentoring. See https://byums.org/women-professionals . If there is not a Women in Business group in your area, consider starting one. See http://byuwomeninbusiness.blogspot.com/2011/12/starting-women-in-business-group.html for ideas.)

– With the internet (see LinkedIn and Facebook, blogs, and more), women can take initiative and connect with LDS professionals in places all over the US and elsewhere.

– For students at BYU, there are robust women in business clubs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These clubs have regular opportunities to network with professional LDS women.

Undergraduate Women in Business club: http://womeninbusiness.byu.edu/

Graduation Women in Management club: https://sites.google.com/site/wimbyu/)

– As an FYI, the undergraduate club will be holding an event on March 13. Elaine Dalton will be speaking and there will be opportunities to connect with people in various emphases within the business program. http://www.marriottschool.net/womeninbusiness/major-shopping-event-registration/

– The Marriott School has several advisory board where female mentors might be found. http://marriottschool.byu.edu/advisoryboard/

– The BYU Management Society held a Women in Business conference in 2011. There were several dynamic and accomplished women who were invited to speak and participate. http://marriottschool.byu.edu/conferences/wibc/

– Several of the women who participated in the Women in Business conference were featured on the blog for the conference who are excellent mentors to follow on Facebook and elsewhere (e.g., Whitney Johnson’s Harvard Business Review blog posts (http://blogs.hbr.org/whitney-johnson/), personal blog (http://whitneyjohnson.com/), Chrysula Winegar’s blogs (e.g., http://chrysulawinegar.com/, http://whenyouwakeupamother.com/).

See many more Mormon women in business featured at http://byuwomeninbusiness.blogspot.com/

p.s. The non-profit Aspiring Mormon Women also has a list of other resources for women in professions such as law, medicine, science, and more. http://aspiringmormonwomen.org/resources/