Linda R. Carlozzi and Lisa Regnante reflect on their experience with Janice as a mentor and the ways it impacted their lives.
Q. What was the most valuable from your mentoring experience?
LISA: I came of age watching Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro nominated as the first woman Vice Presidential candidate in 1984. Her presence on the national stage provided a role model for young women like me – a second-generation Italian American interested in law and politics. I could relate to this “mentor” from afar.
During college, I met an Italian American lawyer who took a personal interest in me and became my mentor. She held a high-profile government affairs position with a Fortune 500 company in Washington, D.C., at a time when only two women held seats in the US Senate. I hit the mentor jackpot.
As my mentor was breaking her own glass ceilings, she made herself available to me. She shared her professional successes and failures without sugarcoating. As an active listener, she provided me with targeted career guidance and sisterly encouragement.
The most valuable part of the mentor relationship was the opportunity to ask questions without judgment. No question was off the table. “Ask away” she’d say. From wardrobe advice to navigating in a male-dominated workplace and everything in between, she shared her views with honesty and humor.
At a time before the internet, LinkedIn, or YouTube to consult, my mentor was, in a sense, my own personal “Google” search engine.
Now, from my vantage point as an empty nester whose kids are beginning their own careers, I can reflect on my mentee experience with reverence. It undoubtedly played an important part in my early professional life. It helped me find my own voice and style and gave me more confidence to succeed in the business world.
LINDA: I am a first-generation Italian American. I was paired with one of my mentors during law school because she was an accomplished Italian American woman lawyer working in Washington DC, where I was attending Law school. I didn’t have any lawyers in my family so, to me, the mentor relationship was incredibly valuable to learn first-hand about the different law paths that were available to me and opened my eyes to what possibilities existed for me.
Networking was foreign to me. So having a mentor was an incredible experience and opened another world for me.
The close relationship I enjoyed with my mentor – who looked like me and who shared my background – was incredible. She exposed me to an inside point of view of the paths I could take in the law field.
All these years later, having become a partner in a large law firm based in New York City, I have had the opportunity to mentor young attorneys, and I realize the value of the mentor relationship. I see myself in the young attorneys who are looking for guidance, and a good ear to listen to their dreams and concerns.
Q. What is one memorable moment or one thing you remember most impacting your professional career from our mentoring experience?
LINDA: My mentor opened my eyes to what is possible. I remember one of the first times I met the woman who would later become my mentor, I was impressed with her professionalism and demeanor. She presented the whole package! Intelligent, and well-spoken, and when she walked into the room, she captured everyone’s attention. After all these years, I can genuinely say, this remains true about my mentor, and it is something I still aspire to achieve. She was never afraid to share he honest opinion even when it may not have been the most popular opinion. Recently, a colleague called me after a somewhat difficult business meeting and said, she was impressed with how I presented my opinion, my arguments, and how I was able to persuade the room. I immediately thought of my mentor – some thirty years later, perhaps I have finally reached one of my goals.
LISA: My mentor served on the Board of Directors of a national organization. At the time, almost all Board rooms were dominated by men; women board members were still a minority, at best. The non-profit Board consisted of powerful businessmen, who were used to calling the shots, and in hindsight, likely new to working with women leaders.
When I joined my mentor at a board meeting for the first time, I had an opportunity to witness how she interacted with powerful men as their equal.
The meeting was illuminating. I watched what she wore, and how she walked confidently into the room taking a prime seat in the middle of the table. She knew how to make small talk before the meeting started.
She was undaunted when she was interrupted by voices louder and stronger than her own – and it happened often. I watched how she persisted when her ideas were shot down. Further, she strategically used a smile, laughter, or silence to make a point, while at the same time maintaining her authentic self.
What a lesson it was! One I could never gain in a classroom, from a book, or in conversation. It was the single most impactful experience I had as a mentee.
My mentor found a way to sit at the “head table” and seized the opportunity to learn and grow when she could have otherwise been comfortable sitting there quietly. In doing so, she paved the way for other women behind her to take more seats at that table.
The experience gave me the confidence to be more assertive and to successfully maneuver in new or uncomfortable situations.
Q. Is mentoring for millennials today of value and why?
LISA: Absolutely. Millennials understand the value of networking as they are steeped in LinkedIn and the social media culture. However, technology cannot replace a one-on-one personal relationship with a mentor.
Mentors can personally introduce mentees to their valued contacts. This can cut through the complicated world of establishing professional relationships and provide a much-needed focus to career pathing.
LINDA: One thousand times yes! Particularly for Millennials.
My impression of this generation is they want a fast-track career. They understand the value of networking. I don’t know if I did myself. They can be impacted by having a mentor. We have a mentorship program at my firm. I see first-hand how it impacts young attorneys. They understand the power of it and its value in it. They are very tuned in to making contacts and advancing their professional career. They are much better at networking than I was at their age. I think mentorship is still very important so they can see the many paths their careers can take.
About Linda R. Carlozzi
Linda R. Carlozzi is a Principal in the New York office of Jackson Lewis PC. She joined Jackson Lewis in 1997 and specializes in traditional labor law. Ms. Carlozzi counsels clients in developing and implementing preventive labor and employee relations programs. She advises clients on a full range of labor and employee relations matters. She has represented numerous employers during arbitration proceedings and negotiations. She has advised employers in labor and employment law proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other federal, state, and city administrative agencies. Ms. Carlozzi has been named in The Best Lawyers in America©, “Labor Law – Management” (2018-2022). She is also a member of the Firm’s Global Labor & Employment Group as a liaison for Italy.
She graduated from Fordham University (B.A., cum laude, 1985) and was awarded the degree of Juris Doctor by Catholic University, Columbus School of Law, Washington, D.C., in 1989. Ms. Carlozzi began her labor law career at the National Labor Relations Board, Office of Appeals in Washington D.C., and later transferred to the Philadelphia Region of the National Labor Relations Board prior to joining Jackson Lewis.
Ms. Carlozzi is a member of the American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section, and serves as General Counsel and Chair of the Employee & Labor Relations Chair for the New York City Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (NYC SHRM). Ms. Carlozzi is a member of The Broadway League, Actor’s Fund, and several civic and community organizations.
Ms. Carlozzi has dedicated nearly forty years to the Italian American Community. Ms. Carlozzi currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Scholarships, Grants and Youth Engagement of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). In addition, she has served as past President and Chairwoman of the Italian Welfare League (“IWL”), a non-profit organization that serves Italian American children in medical need and emotional crisis. She has been a member of the Board of Directors for over twenty (20) years. The League has raised and distributed over $2,600,000 to thousands of Italian American children as well as providing grants to organizations assisting Italian American children. In addition, she previously served on the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Italian American Women from 2005 to 2009 and is a current member of NOIAW, and the Columbian Lawyers in New York.
About Lisa Regnante
Lisa Gueli Regnante is the Communication Manager at Buttonwood Financial Advisors. As a communications professional, she has over 30 years of experience in the finance, non-profit, and media sectors. She enjoys volunteering, traveling, and researching her family’s Italian ancestry. She lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with her husband Tom, where they raised their two sons, Charles and Thomas.