Am I Now the Mentor?

Call out for some advice… (and there are some of you reading this blog that can give it)

This is about wine, but is it? Wine isn’t always about popping bottles. I often tell one of my best friends, that is a nurse, that she is the one that saves lives – I sell wine. But you know I have more in my head. And thank goodness, I know that too.

I am sitting in on the Women in Wine Leadership Symposium held every year. (Zoom life as we know it) I’m grateful for focus on why we need this. I’m grateful to see this can happen. Can I admit that I have mixed feelings about, well, so many things regarding the focus on women in the wine industry? Women (this is a shocker so hold on…) are still not sitting in a circle holding hands telling each other how great we are because we are female. Our sex doesn’t stop our competitive nature, the crave for advancement, or the wanting of a pat on the back for accomplishments. I get it, I do, and I’m not being a hater. I recognize all the things that make this a great idea – maybe I don’t want to admit I need them. As I sit here and listen, I am absorbing new outlooks, and a lot of stimulating ideas on how to move forward. Funny how you can be so judgmental one minute, and then get so romantic about writing a blog in the next.

Mentoring: I live in the idea of mentorship. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. (neither would you presumably). When the zoom conversation arose about diversity, growing your team, and the such, some funny things happened. The frisbee landed back in the speaker’s laps – it became about why the mentorship is important to THEM. And, rightfully so. We build those relationships so we can build our personal business, ourselves, our future teams, our tribe – smart moves. Here is where I need to dive in a bit deeper; how do you INVOLVE someone in your personal intent and passion, and wrap it in a professional package? How do you evoke passion.

Don’t tell me it’s something you are born with, or it’s where you come from, or your past, or your childhood, or your…..let’s come up with more excuses. I have seen so many people flip the switch, find a new life dream – enter, well, me. Time to admit to you I wasn’t always the golden girl of wine you see before you. I had my lazy moments, dreams of throwing it all away and marrying a man I felt I SHOULD marry (guilty), possibly bad decisions in a bar or two…. and there it is. But that doesn’t define me (exaggerated hair flip); out of that grew an understanding, in my own right, that there is nothing I can’t do. And through all of those mis-steps also grew my networking skills, strategies, planning, desire for education, consumption of all that education, and the gift of a few great wine minds that shaped my wine intelligence, and then shaped my future.

My task as I see it; who connects with me, what triggers people to connect with me, and where do we take it from there. I know the steps, but how do the ACTIONS follow those steps. That’s what I wanted to hear from the panel today – what do we do AFTER the tastings, the education, the monitary programs – there needs to be a responsible response. We are adults; I’m not here to monitor processes, but I AM here to act as a spring board for ideas and growth. Are the ideas and growth my responsibility? Sure they are – but there is more and more and more.

This Friday I am having a lunch with specialists, merchandisers, team leaders – people new in the industry, and people who have the time in their job to shift the industry. I have a plan, I have a program, I can make them money, and the power point I created rocks. What lies underneath though? What will spur on a creative mind, and how can I relate my visions in a productive way?

I know how to talk you to death; the problem doesn’t lie in the “why” of what I am trying to achieve. Wine is a trigger for building rapport – I also have that in the bag. So now the trick is how to build on these relationships; evaluating the success, asking for more, imposing deadlines – all while discussing why you should drink Carmenere from Chile (and selling that damn bottle in), and building a 30 case display all while keeping priorities in check. Easy, right? I’m going to build my brands – I know that – but what does my team look like, and do I like that picture’s future?

Ideas, suggestions, you think I’m nuts, you think I’m obnoxious? I’ll listen to it all. I’m manifesting my desire to develop and walk into that next phase of, well, whatever can be.

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