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Zoom and FaceTime: Here's how St. Louis mentors are staying connected amid a pandemic

What happens to mentoring opportunities in the middle of a pandemic?
Credit: SLBJ
Scenes from a previous Mentoring Monday event held at Maryville University.

ST. LOUIS — Mentors help us to be better. They inspire us and guide us to get where we need to be — professionally and personally. Mentors can be found at work, school or at other networking opportunities, like the St. Louis Business Journal's annual Mentoring Monday event.

But what happens to mentoring opportunities in the middle of a pandemic? For most, things keep moving along like always (only through Zoom or FaceTime), though topics have changed more than anything else. In usual times, mentors and mentees put a heavy focus on professional development, but in the midst of COVID-19, those topics have also included mental health, self-care and parenting.

Ahead of this year's free, all-virtual Mentoring Monday event, scheduled for Feb. 22, we asked some of the mentors that will be featured at the event to answer the following question:

As a mentor, how are you mentoring differently during this time of the pandemic?

MEREDITH KNOPP | president and CEO, St. Louis Area Foodbank

"During Covid I have been emphasizing that while our children learn their ABCs in school, we must learn our PFGs – patience, flexibility and grace. This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have seen before, and we had no time to prepare. Understanding that everyone’s lives are impacted in different ways, it is important to check in with one another — a call, email, text — and to truly listen to what is being said, and what is not. Remembering to use your PFGs with everyone sounds easy, but it isn’t always. But it’s a great reminder of how we should all aspire to approach our relationships with kindness because we just don’t know what someone may be dealing with."

STACY HOLLINS | dean, Anheuser-Busch School of Business, Harris-Stowe State University

"Zoom, of course! While, I do miss sitting across the table with coffee, we have to push through this crisis. We’ll all be stronger and smarter when this is all over if we make the right decisions right now. Many of us have learned what’s really important and how to use our time more wisely. Meeting and learning virtually is required right now, but will never go away. This crisis has actually widened the scope of who we can mentor as the distance no longer limits us."

RACHEL SEWARD | vice president of enterprise communications and philanthropy, MiTek

"Mentoring is still happening during the pandemic, it’s just the medium has changed. Coffees and cocktail receptions have turned into FaceTimes and text messages, but the substance and connection is still there. I find it’s also important to check in about mental health and model that it’s OK to have life – kids, pets, the furnace repair person – happening in the background."

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