Crystal Khalil: How Mentoring Changes Early in Career Talent

Mentoring is something many leaders and companies say they do. Unfortunately, many mentor programs are inefficient and waste time. Crystal Khalil of Porsche Cars North America shares how she is using mentoring to encourage diversity and inclusion of the next genertation of talent.

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The Transcript - How Mentoring Changes Early in Career Talent

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent while you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: 00:14
Hi and welcome to this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. I have a pretty special interview for you today. I got to interview Crystal Khalil who is the director of procurement for Porsche North America and everybody loves Porsche. They think they're super cool cars, but I personally happen to think that crystal is pretty amazing. She talks a lot about diversity and inclusion and as well as mentoring and the effects that those things have on the next generation of talent. In fact, I actually reached out to a few of Crystal's mentees and they shared with me some really from the heart words about what her mentorship has meant to them personally and professionally. So tune in and learn tons and tons from Amanda Hammett in Porsche North America.

Amanda Hammett: 01:12
Hi and welcome to this episode of the Next Generation Rock Stars podcast. I have a fantastic guest for you today. Her name is Amanda Hammett and she is with Porsche North America. Crystal, welcome to the show.

Crystal Khalil: 01:25
Thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Amanda Hammett: 01:28
Well, I am so excited to tell you. I just shared with Crystal right before we hit record that I may have been Google sleuthing her, um, before we actually met in person and it was a total accident that we've met. Crystal, why don't you tell the audience a little bit about the list that you were put on?

Crystal Khalil: 01:52
So I was recently selected as one of the top 25 impact women impacting diversity and diversity plus magazine and that was launched at the weekend conference this year. So I'm really excited about that.

Amanda Hammett: 02:06
Yes. So, Crystal and I met at we bank, which is a phenomenal organization and it was funny because when the list came out, before we banked the conference, I actually printed it out, which I never print things. I printed it out and I circle and I watch it, Crystal because she was local to Atlanta as well as major Dixon from Accenture. And I just so happen was introduced to Crystal. I wasn't actually pursuing you, but I was introduced to you regardless. And I was so excited.

Crystal Khalil: 02:41
It worked out perfect.

Amanda Hammett: 02:45
It really, really was. So Crystal, why don't you tell the audience a little bit about you?

Crystal Khalil: 02:52
So I have been in procurement and supply chain for over 30 years. Out of those 30 years I've been with Porsche for about 18 years. I am currently the director of procurement for North America. Um, and that's where we do all of the purchasing activities for all of the North American affiliates and subsidiaries of Porsche here in North America. And that's all of the indirect spends. So it's everything on the operational side. We are the customs in Porter Group for North America though we import the vehicles and then get them out to our franchisee-owned dealers in North America. So all of the backend, the logistics, HR, IT, everything you can imagine to make that happen. My team supports those activities.

Amanda Hammett: 03:43
So just a little bit. I mean, not y'all don't do that much. So Crystal, you know, what I'm really excited to talk to you about today is two things, which are major for next-generation talent, the first being diversity and the second being mentoring. So why don't you tell us a little bit about how you see the world of diversity affecting the next generation of talent, whether it's recruiting or developing them. What is it?

Crystal Khalil: 04:17
I say diversity. I, I'm really excited about all of the diversity and inclusion that's, that's happening now. Because I think that as the, as the world changes and, and we're rapidly growing and the demographics are changing, it's important to have the talent in your organization that looks like your customers and you know, that can help give you a different perspective. So I'm really excited about, you know, the efforts here at portion, all the other companies that I'm seeing. I'm reflecting on it being, being intentional about the inclusion of diverse talent. I have for my entire career been the only African American in the room or the only woman in the room. And still to this day, I find myself being the only, you know a diverse person in meetings and in rooms. And I think it's important for them [inaudible] focus on how to make people feel included in those conversations.

Amanda Hammett: 05:18
I agree with that completely because it is one thing to actually be in the room, but it's a completely different thing to feel included in the conversation. And I think that that's something that really we're doing better on diversity, but it is something that inclusion piece is so, so very important.

Crystal Khalil: 05:37
Exactly. And it, and it's a two-way conversation. So one of the things that I expressed to my mentees is inclusion is a two-way conversation. You know, organizations have to make the effort to include you, but you also have to be open to that conversation and you also have to be transparent and allow yourself to be engaged in that conversation.

Amanda Hammett: 06:01
I really love that. I think that's great advice for both sides of that conversation. That's wonderful. So let me ask you this when you're thinking about recruiting or I know that you don't specifically have that role in recruiting, but you do bring people onto your team. So when you're thinking about your team and the dynamics, how big of a, how big of a conversation is diversity? on the day today?

Crystal Khalil: 06:27
So when we we're recruiting, we want to make sure that we have a diverse group of talent and we also, um, we do panel interviews here. So we make sure that also the people, um, that are helping us with the interview process are a diverse group of people so that the talent can see people that look like them in the room as well. So, and you get a diverse perspective.

Amanda Hammett: 06:50
Yes. That's really fantastic. I love that you're able to actually pull in that diverse diversity on the panel because it is so very important, especially for young talent, for them to see someone that they can see themselves in up there. So that's I love that you think that through because so many people would miss that one integral piece. So I love it. I love it. All right. You, you mentioned this just a second ago, but I'd like to circle back to it. You mentioned to you, your mentees. So tell us a little bit about how you see the world of mentoring before we actually deep dive into your mentees for a second.

Crystal Khalil: 07:34
So as I've grown up the corporate ladder and open doors that were perceived to have been close to me or you know, keep through glass ceilings I've always felt that as I opened the door, it's my responsibility to hold that door open and not close it behind me. So I'm very intentional about when I learn something new, sharing it and, and helping others that are coming behind me to, to navigate, but do a lot of mentoring and sponsoring to, to help our young talent and our diverse talent. Find your way in the organization. Just sharing with them. I strive to be the leader that I always want it. And I know that you know, for many years I didn't see anybody above me that looked like me. So it's very important for me to use this platform to help young people coming up in the ranks and help them to understand what it takes to get to the next level.

Amanda Hammett: 08:38
I love that so much. I really, that really touches me. Um, so thank you for doing that on their behalf. So I really want to emphasize for those in the audience who may not know exactly what mentoring is, but would you also share with them like you, how do you see the difference between mentoring and sponsorship?

Crystal Khalil: 09:03
Absolutely. Good question. So for me, mentoring is showing you the way you know, showing you how the gangs are played. Because whether you know it or not, there's always a game being played, right? You're playing or you're being played. So showing them how the game is played and how to navigate the corporate structure is mentoring. Sponsoring is when someone speaks for you when you're not in the room. Monstering is when, when I can say, have you considered this person for this opportunity? Or when you get the tap on the shoulder for an opportunity. So I think you need a sponsor for every new level. Every new level requires a sponsor.

Amanda Hammett: 09:47
Now I would assume, and I may be very wrong and please, please correct, but I would assume that you've probably had some pretty great mentors as well as sponsors throughout your career.

Crystal Khalil: 09:58
Absolutely. I wouldn't be here without the great mentors and sponsors that have helped me along the way. And it has it's cause it's been a challenge, you know, you know, growing myself, learning what is required to get to the next level. Learning the difference between being an individual contributor, a manager, and a leader, you know, and in that growth process, what the sponsors along my way to have challenged me or that have spoken up for me. My current CFO, I'll forever be grateful for him because sponsors a lot of times have to put their own credibility on the line to bring you to the next level. And so I'm so very appreciative of those people in my career and in my life that have stood in the gap for me and given me a hand up.

Amanda Hammett: 10:50
I love it. That's wonderful. And I just want to note something really quickly here. We were originally scheduled to talk, was it last week or the week before, and you were actually asked by your CFO to go represent him at a meeting. And I think that that speaks for you.

Crystal Khalil: 11:07
Yeah, no, I'm so appreciative of those opportunities and of the trust, you know that he has in me.

Amanda Hammett: 11:14
Absolutely. And, and I mean, you sent me the sweetest note like, I'm so sorry. Can we reschedule it? And I was like, girl, please. Absolutely. So you're currently doing a lot of mentoring. I actually at Webank had the opportunity to meet a few of your mentees and they were raving about you. I mean, just raving about you. But I actually went to a few of your current mentees and have them write something for me and I'm not gonna read everything that they said because we'd be here for the rest of the day. Um, but they had a lot to say. And I think that this is really something that's important for everyone to see is that you are pouring into them and they are so incredibly grateful and appreciative and they're sucking it up like sponges and really using it to better their lives.

Amanda Hammett: 12:12
But I'd really just like to read it, just a couple of little comments that I highlighted and pulled out. This is from a young man who's in his late twenties to early thirties, and he says that you have been instrumental in my development as a leader and a team player at Porsche. The lessons you have taught him have carried on past the workplace and have allowed me to be a better husband, friend, and citizen. I mean, come on. That's you. Your care, your enthusiasm, and charismatic nature have made her an important asset to our company. And to my personal network. Wow. I mean I'm like, I'm tearing up. Another, another woman who's in her late thirties, she said, this is no joke. My experience with Crystal has been life-changing. Like she really doesn't need to write anything else, but she does you have some raving fans here.

Amanda Hammett: 13:20
She said working with you has been the best thing that I could've done both for my professional and personal life. She said when she was working with you to Dah, Dah, Dah, I received one of the largest salary increases that I have ever received.

Crystal Khalil: 13:39
Wow.

Amanda Hammett: 13:40
Life-changing. That's life-changing. And she said crystal has been a Godson and it definitely changes the blueprint for women here at Porsche North America. And we celebrate her daily.

Crystal Khalil: 13:51
Oh, come on.

Amanda Hammett: 13:55
I mean like, this is crazy. I mean, crazy good. One last one. This is a woman in her fifties and she says a lot. But one of the things that really stood out was that crystal has pushed me to come out of my comfort zone and what I consider normal. And she's not allowed me to settle for less than. And my professional and personal journey have been easier because of her brilliance, patience and consistent encouragement.

Crystal Khalil: 14:27
Wow. That's overwhelming.

Amanda Hammett: 14:30
Yes. And when you read all of it in, in their entirety, it really will be. But what this says to me is that you care about them and it goes far beyond just a checklist. You care about them and they feel it. And I think that it's obviously changed their lives for the better.

Crystal Khalil: 14:50
That makes me proud and it makes me happy.

Amanda Hammett: 14:54
Yeah. I'm absolute. I mean, and that really is the power of mentoring. That is the kind of difference that a good mentor makes.

Crystal Khalil: 15:04
Yes, yes. And I, and I do, I care deeply about them. I want to see them grow professionally but also like in there, in their personal lives. Because a lot of the lessons that I teach them can be applied to other areas of your life as well. And it's about just being a good person, just doing the right thing every day, being a good person, doing your best. And I love when we have our mentee sessions and I get that Aha moment from them where it's like, and I can tell that they're really processing it. And then they come back and they tell me, Oh, I had this thought and I applied it this way and this is what happened. It just, it makes my heart overjoyed because ultimately, you know, what I always tell them is I want to see you be successful, whether it's here at Porsche or anywhere else in your life. I want you to be happy. I want you to be successful. I want you to grow because growing people grow companies, you know, if you're happy and you're, and you're doing what you love, you will, you will grow the organization, whether it's Porsche somewhere else or you're even your own company. I want them to see happy and successful no matter what it is they decided to do in life.

Amanda Hammett: 16:17
Well, they have gotten that message loud and clear from you. But for the audience here, I think that there's a lot of, I feel like misinformation out there about mentoring, about how to structure it. And there are a thousand different ways you could structure it, but could you walk the audience through how you A pick out mentees and B, how do you structure that time with them?

Crystal Khalil: 16:46
So there's a couple of different ways. So I'm a John Maxwell certified trainer, so I use a lot of dime Maxwell's techniques and my mentoring. And then just everyday life, you know, and, and the lessons that I've learned in the last 30 years do it, you know, doing what I do in procurement and supply chain and just throughout my life. But the mentees tend to select me and it's, and I can't turn anybody down. So I'm like right now I have 32 active mentees here at the organization.

Amanda Hammett: 17:19
When did you work? I mean, we'll do you have time?

Crystal Khalil: 17:23
Everybody else goes home, Huh? What I do, I have 32 and I do, um, I meet with them in groups of 10 to attend to 12. And we have regular scheduled sessions for one hour where we talk about a particular topic. And it's just, it's based on trust, truth, and transparency. And my model is excellence and but my brand will be service excellence and humility. So I, you know, it's, it's focused around service excellence and humility in your everyday life. And so we take a little bite-size chunk of one of those three and we meet for an hour and it's just, I'm transparent with them. I tell them the struggles I've had in my career and how I overcame and, and I allow them to be truthful and what, what, what we say in the room stays in the room. And I'd give them my best advice, but even better, they laugh from one another.

Crystal Khalil: 18:24
So what when it, when I know the class is most successful is when I talk the least amount and they talk the most and they are answering questions for each other and they're having healthy debate and they're collaborating and they've started to become, they, it's, there's like a, a network of them within your organization where they, it's a positive support group. So you know, if they can't, if they can't get me in, they have a pressing issue, they know that they can go to one of my other mentees and they're all on the same page and they're all encouraging and positive and there's nobody that's going to sit there and soak with you. They're going to tell you to get up and do what you need to do and you know they're going to give you positive reinforcement and encouragement to do whatever it is that needs to be done. So I'm really proud of that when I see them together and I see them networking. And the other thing is they come from all areas of the ordinance organization. If some of them come from some of our affiliates and subsidiaries, most of them are very different departments. So it's created a network within. So, you know, whereas they used to be hard workers sitting at their desk just doing their job. Now they're meeting people from other areas of the department and it's helping them to understand where they fit in into the big picture.

Amanda Hammett: 19:40
Oh, that's a beautiful side benefit that I feel like most people probably didn't see coming. I didn't see that coming.

Crystal Khalil: 19:50
Exactly.

Amanda Hammett: 19:51
That's beautiful. I love it. I love it. So I mean if you were to advise a young employee right now, um, outside of, of, of your company that is looking for a mentor, someone that can really give them this kind of guidance, what advice would you give them?

Crystal Khalil: 20:11
Look for people that you admire in, in, um, in leadership and you know, as be gracious enough to ask people to sit down and if you can, if you can have a coffee with them, a 30-minute coffee or something, not a lot of time. And be curious about, you know, how did they get where they are today and, and learn more about them. I've never reached out to someone and asked them could I sit and talk with them and been turned down because people like to talk about themselves. Right? So if you just wanna hey, I just love to, you know, learn more about you and how, how you achieved what you've achieved in your career. And you know, if we can just sit down for a 30-minute coffee and I won't take a lot of your time, but I just wanted to learn about you, people will generally say yes. I've never had anybody tying me down for that. And if you do that with a couple of people, sooner or later you'll start to build connections with people that can become your mentors.

Amanda Hammett: 21:08
Absolutely. I love it. So, um, do you generally think it's a better idea for people to have a mentor inside their company or outside or both? Or what is your advice on that?

Crystal Khalil: 21:22
I would say you should have as many mentors as you can. It's great to have one in the organization because they will help you to understand how to navigate your corporate culture in your organizations, culture, but then also externally because you want to build that network outside of your organization as well. Your network should be three 60, so you'll find people in your church, you'll find people in industry associations, you know, that, that can help you to navigate to the next level. So I would say is, you know, as many mentors as you can find that are willing to invest in, you, don't turn anybody down.

Amanda Hammett: 22:04
I love it so much. So great. Crystal. So you know, you have said so many great things about the world of diversity and inclusion, the world of mentoring. And you know, for me it's all about the young employees. So next generation of talent, whether it's millennials, whether it's Gen z, but what would you say to a young employee who is going to be a leader for the very first time? What advice would you give them?

Crystal Khalil: 22:35
The first thing I would say to them, it is known the difference between a manager and a leader. So more managers maintain systems and processes, right? Leaders are strategic and they look to take the organization to new levels. They're problem solvers. To understand which one do you want to be? You want to be a manager or leader. Leaders are more valuable to the organization. So focus on your leadership skills, your people skills, invest in yourself and never stop learning. You know, really take the time to enhance your knowledge of people skills. Take, you know, if there's training offered by your organization, take full advantage of that. But if it's not, go outside of your organization and get what you need to be the best leader possible.

Amanda Hammett: 23:27
I really don't have anything to add and we have quickly come up to the end of our time. So crystal, I'd like to thank you so much for being on the Next Generation Rockstars podcast, wealth of knowledge, wealth of knowledge. So again, thank you so much.

Crystal Khalil: 23:43
Thank you.

Amanda Hammett: 23:44
Thanks so much. Joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader, and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the Next Generation Rockstars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.