Mentoring Month: Mentor and Mentees Myths, Truths, and What To Do


Check out this live mentoring panel where we discussed the realities of mentorship. Our panel of experienced mentors shared their insights and dispelled some common misconceptions. We covered Truths, Myths, and What You Can Do as an Individual as an Organization to improve.

  • Pete Schramm, Lattitude Founder and CEO
  • Keisha Benson Woods, ReverseIT Ph.D./JD
  • Matt Diabes, Lattitude Chief Scientist and Innovation Officer
  • Dawn Lazar-Fredella, Broadridge Financial Director of Talent, MS, SPHR
  • Dr. Nikki Blacksmith, Blackhawke Co-Founder and CEO
  • Dalian Washington Option D CEO and Business Development
  • Matt McHale, Lattitude CRO

Discussion Topics

  • The Importance of trust when building a mentor relationship
  • How companies need to be intentional in using technology and developing a process for a mentoring program
  • The lasting impact the right mentor can have
  • Why reverse mentorship is crucial in today’s work environment

Key Highlights

This video discusses the importance of mentorship and how it can be beneficial to both the mentor and mentee. It also discusses how companies can improve their mentorship programs by embracing it and making it available to all levels of employees.

  • 00:00:00 This panel discusses the benefits of mentorship, and discusses different types of mentorship programs. They also share their experiences with mentoring and mentees.
  • 00:05:00 Dalian Washington explains whytoring is important to individuals in both the military and the civilian world, and it can be beneficial in many ways. One’s first mentor can be very influential in one’s life, and can help to shape one’s career and direction.
  • 00:10:00 Keisha Benson Woods describes how, as a young person, she benefited from having a mentor who was more experienced in their field. She also notes that, as a minority, she was often fearful of doing the wrong thing and this led to her being reclused, which hindered her career. Her mentor, a professor at a university, helped her to navigate her career and to feel more confident in her abilities.
  • 00:15:00 Dawn Lazar-Fredella shares the story of how a high school teacher had a profound impact on their career path. He offers advice for aspiring mentors, emphasizing the importance of early stage mentorship.
  • 00:19:27 Matt McHale shares about a video the demonstrates the impact our mentor can have on our path in life and even 30 years later how deep and emotional that bond can be, you can view it here:
  • 00:20:00 Pete Schramm discusses the importance of mentoring, myths, truths, and how to go about finding the right mentor. It also discusses the benefits of reverse mentoring.
  • 00:25:00 The panel discusses the importance of mentorship and how it can be beneficial to both the mentor and mentee. It also discusses how companies can improve their mentorship programs by embracing it and making it available to all levels of employees.
  • 00:30:00 Matt Diabes and the panel discuss the importance of building a mentorship program and how to do so effectively. It discusses the challenges that mentors may face and how to overcome them. It also discusses the importance of intentional use of mentorship programs and how to find the right mentors.
  • 00:35:00 Dr. Nikki Blacksmith discuss how mentoring month is a time to celebrate and reflect on what has been accomplished. Latitude, a company that offers structured mentorship, discusses the importance of trust and psychological safety in a mentee-mentor relationship.
  • 00:40:00 Mentoring is important for both the mentor and mentee, as each has prior experiences that can hinder trust. It is important to be aware of these prior experiences, and to work through them during the mentorship process.
  • 00:45:00 The panel discusses some of the myths and truths about mentorship, and how to create a successful environment for mentorship. They provide examples of how people can become mentors, and how leaders can create a supportive mentorship culture. Finally, the speaker reminds the audience of a Ricky Gervais movie clip in which a character says that a society grows great when old men plant trees when they know the shade of which they will never sit in.
  • 00:50:00 The panel discusses the importance of having a personal Board of Advisors, which is a concept that has been talked about for 100 years but has not been fully implemented yet. The latitude team created a starting point for individuals on their journey of developing mentorship skills.
  • 00:55:00 The panel discusses the importance of having a mentor and coaching system in place, and how to find the right people to help you. It also discusses the importance of trust and respect when building these systems. Finally, the presenter thanks the panel and the audience for their time.

You can also see more on our LinkedIn newsletter post –

We want to get to know you and we want to help you get to know your employees.

Speaker Bios:

Pete Schramm, Founder, and CEO (BS, MS – Mechanical Engineering, Catholic University, PMP, RMP, ScrumMaster, AgileHR, and Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt certifications) 9+ years of experience leading high-functioning teams to solve complex problems as a defense contractor (Lockheed Martin and QinetiQ). Held roles as an engineer, analyst, and program manager. He supported $6B+ proposals and led teams of 100+ engineers and scientists to build robots for the Army and grew his portfolio from <$500k to $30M+ Pete grew up on a farm near Pittsburgh, PA, connecting people and leading teams since he learned how to drive a tractor. He studied mechanical engineering (BS and MS) in Washington, DC, at The Catholic University of America and went on to work at Lockheed Martin. Pete was a member of the Operations Leadership Development Program (OLDP) and held roles as a proposal analyst, environmental sustainability engineer, supervisor, manufacturing engineer, quality engineer, project manager, and lean six sigma black belt. Pete then worked at MTEQ (now QinetiQ) as a program manager, where he led a team of 100+ engineers and scientists to build robots that keep our soldiers safe from far away. He is now a full-time entrepreneur and made the mentoring platform Lattus with a proven team. The Lattus team understands how to mentor effectively for each situation (what you need when you need it) and has built the platform based on user feedback and academic research. Pete has facilitated more than 1,000 conversations around mentoring since 2016 and has studied 500+ articles/papers/books to build Lattus for the world. After a discussion with Pete, you will want to be a part of anything he is working on—he exudes energy and inspires people in every conversation. Pete was Lattus before the tool existed.

Keisha BensonWoods, Ph.D./JD; Guest Lecturer, Reverse Mentorship SME, Change Management Professional Dr. Benson Woods has over 20 years of experience leading projects and teams with a focus on business development, market intelligence, capture, and the full proposal lifecycle. Her success was possible through the use of quantitative and qualitative data analysis, organizational transformation, data validation, and the Deming Cycle (PDCA). She is an executive change agent and earned her PhD in Business, IT Management from Capella University, MBA, in IT Management from Capella University, and JD from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. Dr. Benson Woods has served as the business lead for numerous projects in the past decade alone and leverages her deep knowledge related to Generational Engagement and Analytics; Data-Driven Decision Making; Business Intelligence; Strategic Process Development; and Mentorship Programs focused on professional development for government employees.

Matt Diabes, Matthew Diabes is a PhD Candidate (graduation: May 2023) in Organizational Behavior and Theory at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the Chief Science and Innovation Officer for Lattitude. He has been conducting research in the areas of well-being, collaboration, teamwork, negotiations, and conflict management for over 10 years, and his research is published in well-known academic and practitioner outlets. In addition, he has taught courses in organizational behavior and negotiations and conflict resolution to future leaders at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dawn Lazar-Fredella has dedicated 22 years of her career to talent management. She has served in management, consultant and advisory roles in a variety of organizations and institutions of higher education. She is currently as Director of Talent Management at Broadridge Financial Solutions, in Newark, NJ. Her role provides strategic oversight to the company-wide Mentorship Program and the New Associate Onboarding Programs as well as supports the performance management program & talent review process, internal succession planning programs, career and leadership development initiatives, and the early career rotational program for GTO. In addition to her role at Broadridge, she is also Founder and CEO of Dawn Lazar, SPHR Résumé Writing and Career Coaching Services and previously served as the VP of Programming for HRMA Princeton, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Ms. Lazar-Fredella received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The Florida State University, Master of Science in Adult Education from Florida International University and holds the SHRM recognized Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certification from HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Most recently she attained the Leadership Development and Succession Strategist Certificate from HCI.

Dr. Nikki Blacksmith is Co-Founder and CEO of Blackhawke Behavior Science and an adjunct faculty member at American University in Washington, DC. She has over 15 years of experience as a scientist-practitioner focusing on assessment, selection, and decision-making. She works with venture capital capital firms to help them assess the human capital and fit of prospective portfolio companies. Dr. Blacksmith has years of experience as a mentor and is especially passionate about mentoring early-career professionals and students of industrial-organizational psychology. Dr. Blacksmith received her M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, her Ph.D. from the George Washington University, and did her postdoctoral research fellowship at the Army Research Institute. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for Sembramos, a nonprofit dedicated to building diverse and inclusive organizations and as an executive board member of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

Col (RET) Dalian Washington Is CEO of Option D, Inc with over 28+ years of mid-management to executive level experience leading a diverse work force in the various areas of human resources, training, advertising, marketing, customer service, financial management, process improvement and change management. Directly responsible for leading organizations of 15-1800 personnel with operating budgets ranging from $50,000 to $10,000,000 and assets ranging over $1 billion. Outstanding administrator that excels at leading organizations through transformation change and crises management. Demonstrated results driven leadership:

What’s Lattitude?

Lattitude is the one-stop-shop employee connection platform. Imagine a technology at the intersection of LinkedIn, Zoom, Calendly, Google Docs, and Salesforce. Our software enables users (in companies) to track topics of interest (to learn and teach), sync calendars and availability, get matched and have 1:1 video calls, track agendas and notes over time, and reports 100+ metrics to group admins.

Set up an employee engagement consultation here to see if your organization is ready to crawl, walk, or run.

We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings


  • Cookie Preference

Cookie Preference

We use different types of cookies to optimize your experience on our website.  You may choose to allow or disallow and can change your preferences at any time. Remember that disabling cookies may affect your experience on the website. You can learn more about how we use cookies by visiting our Privacy Policy.