Marsha Carr says she’d love to credit her astute business sense, spot-on strategic planning and mad marketing savvy with the success of her latest business venture, Self-mentoring, offered through Edu-tell, a business Carr founded in 2006. But it’s really the result of her trying to survive in a new professional environment.
Carr had a 30-plus-year career in public and private education in West Virginia and Maryland and had started two businesses on the side when she moved to the Wilmington area from West Virginia in 2010.
She had no intention to start another business. She became an assistant professor in Watson College of Education’s (WCE) Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. And soon, she knew she was going to fail.
A survivor of serving under nine boards of education, many of which were not entirely supportive, Carr knew she had to figure things out. She started identifying her strengths and what her environment required of her that she didn’t possess.
When asked to speak about mentoring at a conference sponsored by Watson College’s Professional Development System, Carr instead spoke of self-mentoring, a new concept that many had never heard of.
The reaction from attendees inspired Carr to consider the value of self-mentoring. She went through the journal she’d kept that detailed her past year in the new job and realized it could serve as the basis for a pilot program to help others self-mentor.
Five studies on the topic had been conducted at that time.
According to a WCE Watson Chronicle news story, Carr’s Self-mentoring is designed “to help individuals grow professionally and take charge of their own success. Participants in the program learn to improve research, collaboration and networking skills as they work through four levels of self-mentoring. The levels include self-awareness, self-development, self reflection and self-monitoring.”
Carr has written several books on the topic. Self-mentoring is currently offered in the form of trained professionals coming to a requester site, custom-designed programs and event and keynote speaking.
For the past several years, Carr has been in what she calls the development stage, trying to figure out how Self-mentoring, which she trademarked in 2011, would work and be sustainable rather than marketing it and pursuing profit.
Carr entered into a business contract with the university. To spread the word, she has been attending conferences. To gain international exposure, she targeted and attended conferences of the International Mentoring Association and was invited to the York International Coaching Week in 2014 and again in 2016 as a speaker.
When Self-mentoring is widely understood and supported, Carr’s dream will be realized. Until then she continues to serve as a circuit speaker, both nationally and internationally.
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