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If you only have a minute: Rooted and unwavering is all about connecting deeply with ourselves, others and our service in the world. Our mentors are there for us when we want and need that special kind of connection.

Finding our mentors

By Esther Groves and Hylke Faber

“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.”

  • J. Loren Norris


When Rene Yoakum, EVP of Customer and Culture at Remitly, looks for inspiration and guidance, she turns to her mentor, Grace.  Grace is wise, warm and approachable - a very good listener. She doesn’t judge people – she knows they are good - and she offers a safe space.

But Rene is quick to add that Grace also has an edge – she’s not soft and cuddly like a grandmother. She’s that valuable combination of empathetic and constructively direct and honest, practicing two of Remitly’s core values.

What is your ideal mentor like?

Do you have different mentors for different occasions? Perhaps someone who listens deeply? Or someone who tells it like it really is – to challenge your thinking or help you sort out something that didn’t go well? How about someone to push you to be a better version of yourself, to help you succeed?

Mentors don’t have to be older – most technically challenged adults know if they need help with a new TV remote, the nearest 6-year-old is an ideal mentor.

Also, mentors don’t have to be formal. Often older relatives become our first mentors by default. As we mature and venture into the world, mentors can appear in unexpected ways. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we’ve been mentored until later in life when a person’s words or example suddenly come to mind and guide us through a rough patch.

And, mentors don’t have to come from outside of us. You see, Grace is actually Rene’s future, inner self – a woman 20 years her senior, who lives inside of Rene. Grace continues to grow in wisdom and nudges Rene to become more and more of her highest self.

Besides Grace, Rene also turns to external mentors. Her leadership team at Remitly, and especially the CEO, Matt Oppenheimer, serve as a wisdom council for her. Remitly’s teams, Rene points out, are spread all over the world. During Covid, the international staff was suffering disproportionately to how people were suffering in the U.S. because they are in places like Managua, Nicaragua, Colombia and India. They were surrounded by fear - in the political environment, at work, in their personal lives, for their health and safety, and for their children.

Says Rene, “And so Matt, and I…did meditation together, we talked a lot, we supported each other. We just knew we had to keep growing our container every day, in order to be bigger, so that we could support our people and ourselves. And I think that focus let us take ourselves out of our own fear and give back and that gave us strength… all of us at the company.”

Who do you turn to for mentoring? Who do you turn to when you need someone to listen deeply to you and help you access your deeper wisdom? What if you connected more to your inner Grace to help you become even more of your best self today?


“Behind every great leader, at the base of every great tale of success, you will find an indispensable circle of trusted advisors, mentors, and colleagues.” – Unknown

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