Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blog posts are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Hnub Tshiab: Hmong Women Achieving Together.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mentor of a Different Gender

One of our readers sent the following thoughts:

As a Hmong professional woman, I look to mentors to show me the ropes and to guide me as I aspire to create change in the world. However, as I look around I notice that all my mentors are women. I started to wonder, who are the men mentors in my life? The answer to my question: I do not have any Hmong men mentors in my life. The closet men mentors in my life are not Hmong, but even so, those men are not truly mentors, but colleagues. So I wonder, as Hmong women, can we have Hmong men as mentors (Hmong men who are not related to us)? As Hmong women, how do become mentors to Hmong men and boys? Are there perceptions of a mentoring relationship between a man and woman? If so, what are the perceptions of these relationships?

Attached is a link to an article by Robin Madell of The Glass Hammer that discusses the pros and cons of having a male or female mentor.


  1. It's interesting reading this because it is completely the opposite for me. My first mentor was a Hmong man who taught me almost everything I know and has helped me to dig deeper and challenge myself to further know who I am and who I am becoming. I did not have a Hmong woman as a mentor until recently. So, I say to you that yes, we can have Hmong men mentors in our lives. I realized that even I am becoming a mentor to another man without even realizing it.
    I am learning that I become mentors to others, regardless of their sex and ethnicity, because I feel a connection, a sense of understanding where they are in their lives that I don’t want them to fall as deep as I did. Becoming a mentor to Hmong men or boys to me is to look at them as any individual I would mentor and not as just a Hmong man or boy. I would say this that the best ways mentorships begin are through conversations and if it so happens that you engage in a wonderful conversation with a Hmong man or boy then you do.
    The perception that I have had having a Hmong man mentor has always been the assumption or confusion of our mentorship relationship for a different kind of relationship. This is the only perception I can remember others had with my mentor and me. I can say that people now understand and realize now what our mentor relationship is.
    I hope that my experiences will provide you with some answer to your questions. I am more than willing to continue and engage in this conversation further. Thank you for asking such a great and well-thought question.

  2. To the first comment posted: Well said and congrats on your great mentor-mentee relationship. Having a mentor is such a huge step in developing your talents and skills.
    But as a man and being Hmong, I realize the great challenges in mentoring in general. Our community is bicultural and still growing its identity. I wish I had a mentor growing up and trying to make sense of my Hmong-American identity. In a way I felt like the person who started this conversation and asking the same question –“Who are my men mentors?”

    And just like her, I will provide an answer – I will be that mentor; to both aspiring young men, as well as women.
    I consider myself an Academic Professional who’s career driven, involved in young professionals groups, volunteer/fundraising/grant writing experience, financially literate, civically dedicated, patriotic, fully Hmong-American (not either or), and yes, have mentored others before (both men and women).

    If the intent was to answer the question of where are Hmong men mentors are, then it’s safe to say one is right here.

    For anyone interested, or to just have a conversation, here is my contact information:

    Kim Chang