Stacy Cassio grew up in a tiny town in northwest Kansas, halfway between Kansas City and Denver. After graduating high school with 26 others (including four foreign exchange students) she decided to forego college to fly (for the second time in her life) to New York City to become a nanny. It was a shock.
Stacy took care of two kids in Bronxville, an affluent town just north of the city, and the home of Sarah Lawrence College. But college never appealed to Stacy. Instead she took a series of positions in the business world. She always stood out as a hard worker who could soak up corporate culture like a sponge. But when a mentorship didn’t work out, Stacy suddenly felt rudderless. She totally identified with her position at work. She felt lost.
That feeling ultimately motivated her to leave the corporate track and invent her own. She thought long and hard about the way mentorships were supposed to work but often didn’t. And she set out to carve her own path to help employers and employees alike find a better way.
The ultimate result is something called the Pink Mentor Network. Stacy started it herself. Not only that, she outlined six distinct types of mentorship and trained up others in how to make the most of them.
She knew she was on to something in an early networking session when one guest grabbed her by the shoulders and said in no uncertain terms, “YOU’VE FOUND IT!” “Found what?” she thought. The woman made it clear. “You’ve found the thing you’re supposed to do!” And she had.
Stacy made a very intentional decision along with her husband Steve (who she met in NYC and immediately fell in love with). They would not have children. She would intentionally be one of the 19% of women who do not have kids. It took some explaining to her mom. But she’s confident it’s the right choice for her.
She has instead poured her energy into creating mentorships for women. It’s really admirable when you see what she’s accomplished. And along the way she has drawn allies from the traditional power brokers (MADE THAT TWO WORDS) in the C-level suites, older white men.
Corporate execs of all stripes see how innovative mentorships benefit the business world and employees alike. They can see how mentoring and encouraging smart young women with or without college degrees to learn the ropes is in their own enlightened self-interest.
You can feel the excitement radiate off of Stacy. It’s infectious. After our chat, I joined the Pink Mentor Network. Seems like a natural environment for a man who is practicing learning to listen.
Hear Stacy Cassio’s wild journey from rural Kansas to New York City Thursday @ManListening the podcast.