Do You Have Your Party of 5 Mentors To Guide Your Success?

by Joanna Pineda Posted on July 7, 2010

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the Women Grow Business Boot Camp in Washington, DC.  Organized by the Women Grow Business Community blog (sponsored by Network Solutions), the event brought together women business owners and entrepreneurs from around the region to learn about starting and growing a business.

It was during this conference that I heard Kathy Korman Frey,  Chief Hot Mamma of the Hot Mammas Project, talk about the Sisterhood of Success and how every successful business person needs a Party of five that she can turn to for advice and support.

The Hot Mammas Project is creating a giant library of case studies and role models for girls and women.  When not running the Hot Mammas Project, Kathy is also a professor at the George Washington University School of Business.  Here’s what she had to say about the Sisterhood of Success:

While Kathy directed her message to the woman solo-preneurs and business owners in attendance at the conference, her advice applies to anyone who wants to be successful, get ahead, do great things.  Kathy’s Party of 5 message makes a lot of sense and rings true even in our personal lives.  Her research shows that people who have 5 or more friends are happier and have higher feelings of success.

I have certainly benefited from my Party of 5, whose members have been, at various times, key clients, Advisory Board members, my CEO coach and fellow CEOs.  I’m especially grateful to the members of my Vistage group and EAG (Executive Alliance Group), who share their business advice and give me a reality check at least once a month.  Two years ago, my good friend Chet told me to hoard cash because this recession was going to be bad.  I did and as a result, Matrix Group has weathered this recession in strong financial health.  My CEO buddy David shared his company dashboard with me, which inspired me to develop my own dashboard, which now guides planning, budgeting and resource management at Matrix Group.

As someone who has benefited from strong and effective mentors, I also feel an obligation to serve as a Party of 5 member to others looking for their own success.  I’m currently mentoring a couple of people at my company, and several entrepreneurs whose work I admire and trust.  Not surprsingly, I am learning just as much from being a mentor as I have learned from being a mentee and colleague.

How about you?  Do you have your Party of 5?  And what are YOU doing to be a member of someone else’s Party of 5?

7 replies on “Do You Have Your Party of 5 Mentors To Guide Your Success?”

I heard a similar concept at a leadership development training I attended a while back, but it was called your “Personal Board of Directors”, i.e. that pool of people that you tend to reach out to to help get through life.

I’ve got mine somewhat in order, to me it goes beyond simple professional development. I would consider my boss, Mom, pastor, wife, my former boss, and some other local IT professionals on my personal BOD. I think it’s good to have some diversity on there, and I am constantly surprised how people that don’t know about the business side of my life have some great wisdom to share that makes more sense than it should.

As far as helping others, I don’t know if I’m “officially” on anyone’s Party of 5, but I try to lend a hand, help people, and help people grow as I am able. Our local SAE is looking to get more involved with a mentorship program, I think over the next few years my experience will be at a point where I may be considered to be an official mentor for them.

Thanks for another awesome post!


I do have my party of five. They are several people that I turn to for business advice, including my boss, former business partner, and several other people. I also feel like I am doing my part to empower my friends who are small business owners. In fact, just yesterday, I was speaking to a close friend who is an owner of a small graphic design firm. I simply asked her how business was going, and she mentioned, of course, slower than she’d like. So, I provided her with some advice, as well as a contact to help her.

I only recently realised I lacked mentors in my life. I started to really think about where my mentoring advice would be coming from. I quickly realised that I do have strong leadership already in my life, but not a party of 5. I decided I needed to actively look for a mentor to help guide my personal and business growth. But I didn’t know where to look. After reading your article this morning, I realise that I am already currently unofficially mentoring a few younger women, and through this I am learning what it means to be a mentor and a guide. And even though I haven’t found my own mentor yet, by helping them I am automatically internalising trust for myself, confidence in my own achievements and developing the ability to be know when a decision, good or bad, before making it. By helping other younger women I am hoping I will meet my own mentor that will help me. A bit like paying it forward I guess.

This post is excellent timing, and has confirmed what I have been thinking for a while – that mentors are the key difference between plain success and sheer brilliance.

Also I love the idea of the Dashboard, can you elaborate on that? I’ve heard similar concepts of “health checking” your business periodically, but the idea of a DashBoard sounds alot more robust and grounded. Would love it if you could share more about the Dashboard? It sounds like a gift. Or is there a post or blog on this?

Alas there are no obvious mentors in my immediate vicinity that I can see, or perhaps they are right in front of my eyes and I haven’t clicked yet…. how can you spot a mentor? Is a mentor just a friend? or an associate who is more successful than you?

What a great day at the bootcamp Joanna — and strong, apt key message by Kathy. It’s stayed on my mind. And to your question, I’m grateful to have a party of 5 but to own up, I could frankly be more proactive in carving out chances to listen to them on a steadier basis. That’s one big goal for Q3 – to reach out to them more and also listen for ways to hopefully help them too.

As for being a supporter to others and their core 5, I participate on a more group level in Women Grow Business and different social tech or small biz forums. But now when really considering your question, I have not offered to be available in a more structured ‘mentor/mentee’ way to others. Hello! …I’ve got some work to do to be more supportive I believe.

E-mentorship via social networking has been a strong source of guidance too, notably twitter chats where swarms of folks regularly convene like for #sbbuzz and #pr20chat (there are many regular chats if your readers are interested at all

Warning: that calendar is a bit clunky to sift thru but is pretty informed.

Thank you for this wonderful write up! The concept of having a personal board of advisors and other supporters has been put forth before, and many people partake. But not enough. Especially women. Dual income households, masters degrees to women – on the rise. Volunteerism among women – on the decline. So, you can see what’s happening. Women are cutting out things they percieve as optional. The message about the Sisterhood of Success is not only is it not optional, it’s our obligation.Thus, the point I want to emphasize again to the @wgbiz group and readers is that it is THE thing, and even more so for women and girls because of key data. This post is just great and I can’t thank you enough. Of course, the challenge for many is to also purposefully reach out and give in the midst of our busy lives. To get their five minute mission in the Sisterhood of Success! People should email

I would only add to this that one needs to choose one’s mentors wisely. A bad mentor can do as much damage as a good mentor can add value. Nice post, Joanna, keep up the good work.

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