Why Injectables Pioneer Shelia Anderson Is All In on Mentorship

Female medical provider sitting on chairWhen you want an unfiltered account of what it’s like to work in aesthetics for more than two decades, talk to Shelia Anderson, (RN, MSN, CANS). Shelia’s been injecting since before BOTOX® was even available for cosmetic use. Her career dates back to the early days of fillers, when injectors used cow collagen. (Yes, really!)

Today, there are dozens of conferences and trainings, and a network of trainers who will come to you, but, in Shelia’s early days, injectors didn’t have the same resources. Mentorship was key to growing as a provider.

Shelia continues to pay it forward by mentoring junior aesthetic practitioners to give them the career guidance she wishes she had coming up in the industry. Today, she’s one of aesthetic mentoring’s biggest cheerleaders.

Here’s why Shelia thinks mentoring makes sense for both mentors and mentees.

Why Become A Mentor?

Senior practitioners have jam-packed schedules, but Shelia says there’s still a strong case for taking on a mentee.

First, mentorship is rewarding. It’s a chance to shape the next generation of the profession, and elevate the industry for both pros and clients. “I’ve always been passionate about teaching,” Shelia says. “In the nursing world, our idea is to share information and knowledge so that the patient’s outcome is improved.”

Plus, helping junior practitioners achieve better results with their patients makes everyone look better. Aesthetic newcomers aren’t yet aware of their blindspots, but mentorship can help them spot and avoid common mistakes.

“We always say, ‘If you do a great job, your client will tell one person; You do a bad job, they’re gonna tell 50,” Shelia warns. Mentoring newer members at your practice minimizes the risk that your reputation becomes collateral damage for a beginner’s misstep.

Mentorship is a legacy. It’s a way of preserving your hard-earned wisdom. “I am one of the geriatric injectors,” Shelia jokes. “The art of aesthetics developed through time… I need to pass that information on.”

Why Seek a Mentor?

Mentorship is a job perk. Have you priced aesthetic training recently? It’s an investment. Getting access to a senior practitioner who can answer questions and explain the lessons they’ve learned is huge. (And, let’s be real, that advice is way more valuable in the long run than standard perks like free lunch or coffee.)

It can also accelerate your career. A mentor can help a junior practitioner expand their skills, learn how to talk to patients about new treatments, and build a loyal following.

Mentorship is a safe space for professional reflection. Shelia recommends starting a mentoring relationship with a deep dive into strengths, weaknesses, background, and goals, and establishing a schedule for quarterly follow-ups. (Mentorship is not a one-and-done occasion: You need to set goals and create accountability.)

“In order to have a successful mentorship, you have to have commitment and bandwidth and time and energy to go to that next level,” Shelia says.

Yes, it takes time, but that commitment pays off. One of Shelia’s current mentees, for example, recently checked off all of her five-year goals in just one year. (“And they were good goals,” Shelia adds.)

Lifting Up the Industry

Regardless of the “why” for getting involved in mentorship, the fact remains that when clients look good, the industry looks good. Aesthetic procedures are more complicated than your clients’ other beauty treatments, so a bad experience can make a client wary of the industry. And, in the era of social media and “going viral,” telling dozens—or thousands—of people about a bad experience is easier than ever.

On the flip side, great aesthetic results are the best advertising there is for these treatments. We all win when clients brag to their friends about a provider.

So yes, mentorship benefits everyone involved, but Shelia admits she may have an ulterior motive, too.

“When I’m in a nursing home, I want somebody to make me look good. Shelia’s gotta have her lips.“

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