March 11, 2020

Mentoring As Part of Your Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, with Lisa Fain

Episode 36:

Lisa Fain is the CEO of Center for Mentoring Excellence, and founder of Vista Coaching, the coaching division of the Center. Her passion for diversity and inclusion work is fueled by her strong conviction that leveraging differences creates a better workplace and drives better business results.

She has conducted mentoring training programs for corporate, government and educational institutions. Lisa coaches mentors, mentees and program administrators on how to achieve mentoring excellence and create the right environment for achievement of career and personal goals. She is highly regarded for her special combination of knowledge, expertise, humor and a no-nonsense practical approach.

As Senior Director of the Diversity and Inclusion function at Outerwall, Inc. (the parent company to automated retail giants Redbox and Coinstar), Lisa spearheaded the development, establishment, and implementation of its diversity initiative, including launching the company’s first mentoring program for its Women’s Business Resource Group. Prior to that position, she worked as Outerwall’s in-house counsel, where she coached leaders and partnered with Human Resources to establish fair and effective policies and practices that would sustain the organization as it grew in size, revenue and renown.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Lisa shares how she found her passion for diversity and inclusion work when she brought her mother Lois to her workplace to help set up a women’s mentoring program
  • Why mentoring programs can help build meaningful business relationships across differences and help empower people to thrive in their careers
  • Why Lisa feels that diversity and inclusion training by itself doesn’t work, and why it needs other programs to support it
  • Why successful diversity and inclusion initiatives create a fundamental cultural change throughout all levels of an organization
  • Why a mentorship needs to be a two-way relationship between the mentor and the mentee, and why the mentorship needs ground rules and clear communication
  • Why it is important to measure the success and progress of a mentorship through mutually established and agreed-upon goals
  • Why leadership skills don’t necessarily imply mentoring skills, and why developing your mentoring ability is an important ongoing process
  • Why listening is a cornerstone skill that an effective mentor needs to have, and why leaders may struggle to listen effectively
  • Lisa shares an experience she had with a well-meaning senior partner while working at a law firm after returning from maternity leave
  • Lisa shares an important takeaway from her book, Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring

Additional resources: