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The keys to early career success: Networks or Mentors?

Honors Research by Katie Peterson

Katie PetersonWhich is more important to early career women in the hospitality industry? Networking or developing strong mentor relations? That is the question Katie Peterson, an Honors Student in HTM, posed to eight women managers, who ranged in experience from young professionals to senior executives.

The managers were unanimous in their support of social capital building activities like networking and developing professional networks. While there was strong support for network building, it was the development of mentor relationships with people who can provide guidance and advice that was considered most important. Katie noted that mentors provide “knowledge and insight that managers cannot and will not get anywhere else”. Building several deep mentor relationships and a wide network of professional contacts are techniques that support early career growth. As one senior vice president said “networking and mentoring relationships are important if you want to see your career progress and if you want to be truly satisfied with your work life”.

Note: Katie graduated with Honors in 2012.