What impact can a mentor have?
Successful biotechnology entrepreneurs often credit the mentors that helped them. Mentor relationships can be informal and happen organically or can be more formal. A mentor or a peer who is a step ahead of you in career development can help you with the following:
- Improve technical skills.
- Have someone to confide in who understands.
- Gain anticipatory guidance based on their experience.
- Get a different perspective.
- Build your network.
- Strengthen your confidence in moving forward.
- Learn professional culture in the industry.
- Focus your efforts more effectively and advance your career more quickly.
- Anticipate and prepare for challenges.
- Ask questions.
Areas of career and business development where a mentor can help
Finding one mentor who has the experience or time to meet all of your needs is rare. You are likely to have changing needs over the course of starting a business. You may need mentors in the following areas:
- Science methodology
- Career development
- Work-life balance
- Developing confidence
- Networking skills and connections
- Grant writing
- Writing a good proposal
- Navigating the grant submission process
- Starting a business
- Hiring and managing staff
- Financial issues
- Protecting intellectual property
- Attracting investors
- Market research
Build a network of contacts who have potential as mentors, for example, by building connections with participation in science professional groups or reaching out through social media.
- Why mentoring is important in biotech careers – Article by Don Potochny, published in BioSpace, August 22, 2019.
- Developing & Optimizing Your Mentoring Relationship – Video of a 2020 NIH virtual seminar.