As the head of Wake Forest’s mentoring and alumni personal and career development programs Allison McWilliams recognizes that both mentors and mentees have important responsibilities in ensuring their relationships are productive and meaningful. She is committed to helping both groups develop the skills needed to succeed in their roles. McWilliams is an expert in mentoring both in higher education and in the workplace and has been featured in the Triad Business Journal and Inside Higher Ed. She writes a mentoring blog on Psychology Today, "Your Awesome Career" offering insights for anyone interested in mentoring, leadership, interpersonal relationships and networking. In August 2017 she published a book, Five For Your First Five, Own Your Career and Life After College, to support young adults in their first professional roles.
Areas of Expertise (7)
Leadership and Networking
Higher Ed Mentoring
The University of Georgia: Ph.D., Higher Education Administration
The University of Georgia: M.A., Public Relations
Wake Forest University: B.A., English, Spanish
Media Appearances (7)
These 7 traits can help you get ahead, then harm you as you move up
Being technically proficient can get you noticed, says Allison McWilliams. Later, it can hold you back if you stay in the trenches. “There is a clear difference between an ability to use and implement the latest technologies to do the work, and being able to create a vision and a direction for and manage the people who will do this work. To move up, it is far more important to be able to see the bigger picture and to get the right people into the room.”
For Mentorships to Work, Colleges Have to Commit
The Chronicle of Higher Education
The #MeToo era highlights some inherent risks of mentorships. Allison McWilliams says that "mentoring relationships are, and will always be, power relationships."
Attitude matters more than IQ in achieving success
Choosing a positive attitude can have real implications in the workplace. “Sometimes people let us down at work, and it has consequences for our ability to do our jobs well. Sometimes people aren’t good at their jobs, or don’t treat us the way we would like to be treated,” she wrote.
The Power of Mentoring Women
Triad Business Journal
“Women mentors provide insider information to other women — revealing unwritten rules that are key to career advancement. We provide to each other powerful lessons about navigating professional and personal obligations. We serve as sponsors and advocates for one another, opening doors and providing critical connections due to our earned social and political capital.”
The Uber Fiascos Show That All Start-ups Need to Grow Up
The Huffington Post
“At some point any successful start-up by necessity has to become the very thing it was started to disrupt: a bureaucracy. At a certain point they go past the tipping point and need policies, procedures, human resources departments, and yes, effective leadership. But nothing in the evolution of a start-up is engineered to develop leadership competency. There are no leadership development programs, succession plans, or formal mentoring or coaching.”
Mentorship and Leadership
The Huffington Post
“Mentorship, it turns out, has an awful lot to do with leadership, and more than just the value that great mentors can add to our lives and careers by opening doors and teaching life lessons. The skills and practices of great mentors are also the skills and practices of great leaders,” McWilliams writes.
Every Student Gets a Mentor
Inside Higher Ed
“We tend to make the assumption that mentoring inherently is good and mentoring inherently is positive,” said Allison McWilliams, director of Wake Forest University’s Mentoring Resource Center. “And that’s not true at all. You can be ineffectively mentored.”