Climbing the Success Ladder

Article by:
Kristina Marshall, EO Detroit/EO Accelerator Graduate
Kristina Marshall
EO Detroit/EO Accelerator Graduate

Have you ever climbed a ladder when no one was around? You probably made it as high as you needed to, but took your time and kept steadying yourself. I bet that if someone was holding that ladder for you, you would have scampered up it more quickly and dared to go one rung higher.

That is what EO Detroit members are doing for EO Accelerator (EOA) members. A little while ago, our EOA Champion, Joe Wichowski, and I created a mentoring program where EO members are matched one-to-one with EO Accelerators for an entire year. They meet or speak monthly about the EOA member’s 90-day focus plan, their obstacles and their successes. The pilot program started with seven matches, and today, two of us (me included) have graduated to EO!

Personally, I attribute the final leap I needed to hit US$1 million to my mentor, EO Detroit’s Mark Winter. I was on a five-year plan to hit US$1 million, but as Mark began to mentor me, I found myself striving harder to reach goals that seemed untouchable. I kept the pressure on myself,because there was no way I ever wanted to say to him, “I just did not get that done this quarter.” Exactly three years after starting EOA, I had grown my children’s mentoring charity, Winning Futures, to be eligible for EO!

The greatest part about my mentoring relationship is that even as we celebrated my getting to the top of my success ladder, my mentor looked at me and said, “What’s next?” So, now I will write a business plan to start my for-profit consulting firm. I am passionate about Winning Futures, and will continue to lead it as it grows and serves more youth. However, my experience in EOA has motivated me to do more. I will take my passion for mentoring and create a business to assist companies in implementing their own employee-mentoring and leadership programs.

Today, every EOA member in Detroit who wants a mentor is matched with either a one-to-one mentor or an accountability group mentor. The impact is amazing. The EOA members are benefiting by reaching goals, implementing new systems in their businesses and reaching higher sales targets. The benefit to the EO members and chapter is equally astonishing. EO members who have not been very engaged in recent years are experiencing a rejuvenation through mentoring; we even have a wait list of mentors! An entire team of EO members have formed a board for EOA and are dedicated to growing it, and our past Chapter President is leading the cause.

All in all, this mentoring program is developing successful entrepreneurs at a time when we can create a new future for our city. Mentoring will help us create the future WE want. Over and over, we hear the EO mentors saying, “This has motivated me!” or “I have learned so much from my mentee.” Mentoring has an amazing impact on all involved, and it really is a two-way street. Both the mentors and mentees are gaining value, personally and professionally. Best of all, they are taking the next step on their own ladders of success.

Kristina Marshall is the president of Winning Futures. Fun fact: Kristina enjoys listening to Eminem. E-mail Kristina at kris@winningfutures.org.

The Value of EO Mentorship
Want to participate in EO’s mentorship program? EO mentorship engages members in goal-driven relationships that accelerate personal and professional growth. While these programs are chapter-based, you can discover opportunities in your area by contacting your local chapter board. If you’re interested in helping EO launch a mentorship program in your area, e-mail us at mentorship@eonetwork.org.


Conditions of EO Membership Application and Renewal:
Every member who applies or renews their membership agrees to comply with the Policies and Procedures, Bylaws and Code of Conduct of Entrepreneurs' Organization. Current members must complete the online renewal form acknowledging review of the organization's Policies and Procedures, Bylaws and Code of Conduct.

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