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Woman to Woman Mentoring

Face to Face and Heart to Heart

Where there is uncertainty in life, a life change or questions, connecting with someone who has experience in years of expertise, can alter the course of a woman's life. Face to face and heart to heart; this is where life change can begin at Woman to Woman Mentoring, Inc.

"This program started out of love," says Executive Director Tonya Hatosy-Stier. "The first program launched in 2009. I joined the board in 2011 and fell in love with the concept of an inter-generational connecting of young, future professional women who are seeking direction, support, and guidance, and connecting them with women who have lived life a little bit. Women who could help them to navigate the twists and turns of life." A local Frederick County-wide program, Woman to Woman Mentoring's (W2WM) mission is to cultivate mentoring relationships that provide women, ages 18-35, with guidance, support and community connections. Tonya tells us, "Women come to us seeking assistance with their personal and professional goals. They come seeking support in some area of their lives. There is no typical mentee or mentor. We've had women [enter the program] who have aged out of the foster care system and need support with deciding the next steps in life. We have had young women who are first-generation students who are seeking direction on how to navigate that and complete it, and then how to find a job." 

Tonya continues, "This [program] has been my calling and one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I love it when young women come into our office, and they are uncertain if they are doing the right thing. There's something wonderful that happens when these women come to us with a need, and we match them with a mentor." W2WM serves around 80 women annually. Tonya says, "We are a safe place where the woman will be heard. They come to us, and we listen to them. We don't want them to wear a mask. When they feel heard, something begins to happen with that." She continues, "That's the first step in the process, sharing where you might be stuck, where you need support. Some don't know what they want, but they know they need something. We help them identify what that is and then match her with a volunteer mentor."

Engaging with mentors can truly change the direction of these young lives. Tonya says, "Mentee M came to us feeling lost, anxious, and alone and didn't think it was within her power to change her situation or even her outlook. She had isolated herself, and it was a major step for her to even apply to W2WM. Even after her interview, Mentee M looked for ways out and seriously considered quitting. Halfway through the program, she and her mentor have a deep connection. In workshops, she started to become fully engaged, sharing her wins and her frustrations, encouraging other mentees, building herself a support network, and becoming a support to others. Now she's in college, and is exploring new job possibilities." Mentee M says of her experience with the program, "I have been part of the W2WM program, and it's the best decision I made for myself. The women I have met and gotten to know over the past twelve weeks have had the biggest impact on my life. The strongest, motivational, self-love, positive women I've ever met. Everyone has a story to tell, and it's never the end of the book. I will forever be grateful for the women in my life." 

A caring heart and excellent listening skills are all that's required of a mentor. Kim Lenta says of the three women she has had the privilege of mentoring, "My approach is to meet them where they are, to provide guidance, and help them to identify priorities and pros and cons. I help them to come up with the answers because what they really need is a sounding board. I listen, encourage, and lift them up."

Kim concludes, "The one that's going to walk away, feeling the most rewarded is not the mentee, it's the mentor. They will be so incredibly rewarded, motivated and inspired. My involvement shows me how blessed I am. I'd like everyone to become involved in W2WM and see how simple it is to get outside of yourself to help someone else!"

  • Mentee: Catherine Dorsey and Mentor: Sukanya Bora at our recent Girl’s Nite Out: Rock the Red Carpet event.