Instead of finding one mentor, build your own personal advisory board. Okay, I know it’s hard enough to find one person to be a mentor much less finding several people for an advisory board. But here’s the key difference – when relying on one mentor there’s a LOT of things you’re depending on that ONE person to provide. And it’s only ONE opinion on how to handle work situations.

Instead, break up what you’re looking for among several people – build an advisory board. For example, find someone who is skilled with handling team dynamics. Find another person who is a master at networking. Find someone else who understands how to manage corporate politics. These individuals become your advisory board – your go-to connections when you need advice on how to handle situations at work.

To build your personal advisory board, follow these 5 steps:

1- Identify no more than 5 key professional skills you want to improve (e.g., team dynamics, networking, corporate politics, etc.).

2- Look through your LinkedIn connections and identify one person for each skill you are targeting.

3- Before reaching out, list what you want. For example if you want to improve your networking skills, list several questions which will lead to the advice you are seeking. Consider even asking that person to attend a networking event with you. Be specific about what you want from the relationship.

4- When reaching out, do not overwhelm that person by asking them to be part of your advisory board. Instead, let them know what you need help improving. If they decide to help you then you’ve found a member for your advisory board. You’re prepared to move forward with the list you compiled in #3.

5- Schedule ongoing meetings being respectful of the other person’s time. He/she may be willing to meet you once a week or once a quarter. Most will probably prefer to play it by ear. It’s up to you to reach out to your advisory board and schedule meetings. Invite them to coffee, events or activities which will give you the opportunity to continue to improve your targeted professional skill.

With all the hype about finding a mentor, it can be difficult finding that “right” person. Instead of relying on one person, break up your needs among several people – build your own personal advisory board. You’ll build stronger relationships AND make wiser business decisions using different perspectives.


Niv PersaudNiv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter and as a financial adviser. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”