041: The Importance of Mentorship -W/ Dr. Sidonie & Dr. Zera

A wise person once said – in life, everyone should have a mentor and a sponsor. Each one of us has been influenced by someone before with or without even knowing it. Most often than not, we get to every stage we find ourselves in life with the help of someone, or we have helped someone get to some stage in their lives as well.

In our African community, the concept of mentorship is seldom discussed or practiced. The level of competition, expectation and sometimes hate, makes it somewhat difficult to support and uplift each other. But we fail to understand that it usually takes a village to reach higher heights in life. So, let me ask you – who is YOUR Village?

This week, I will be speaking with two very vital members of my village – my mentors – to break down the importance of mentorship and why we all need mentors in our lives, and to mentor someone else. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to mentorship, or if you want clarity on the expectations of a mentor-mentee relationship, then this episode is for you.


Dr. Sidonie Niba is a Cameroonian who currently serves as the Director of US Field Medical Excellence at Pharmacosmos Therapeutics, Inc. and has worked in a variety of roles with progressive experiences across clinical, academia and pharmaceutical industry settings. As a career strategist and mentor for underrepresented Medical professionals, Sidonie has spent the last 5 years helping dozens of clients transition into life-changing career and growth opportunities. She is an avid advocate for mentorship and coaching within both the professional and personal domains. 

Sidonie is a registered nurse, residency-trained Pharmacist and also holds a Master’s in Business Administration. 

Sidonie is married and lives in the Dallas, TX area with her husband and two young kids. In her spare time, she enjoys engaging in positive and progressive discussions, investing, shopping and traveling.

CONTACT: sidonie@thenurturedprofessional.com

Dr. Zera Hongla immigrated to the US from Cameroon at age 18 and completed her Bachelors in Science in Biochemistry at the University of Maryland. She then completed her Doctorate in Pharmacy at the Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. Upon graduation, she worked as a retail pharmacist but later moved to work on the Native American reservations in New Mexico as the Pharmacy Director.  Following that position, she now works with the Food and Drug Administration. She has been appointed a clinical adjunct faculty at her alma mater as she established practice sites for students at the reservation and frequently returns to school to talk to pharmacy students about various opportunities. As a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service, she is proud to serve and is grateful for the unique opportunities it offers. She credits her journey to the openness of her mentors and sponsors who provided direction and invaluable counsel at crucial stages.

CONTACT: ​​zkwende1@gmail.com

Things You Will Learn in This Episode:

[00:01 – 08:00] Introduction

  • Introduction
  • Guests introduce themselves

[08:00 – 22:00] How I Met My Mentors

  • Anyoh’s connection with Zera
  • Zera share’s her story of connecting with Anyoh
  • Anyoh’s connection with Sidonie
  • Sidonie shares her story of connection with Anyoh

[22:00 – 40:00] How Mentorship Impacted The Guests

  • Seeking mentorship from close relations
  • The value of having a mentor and a sponsor
  • Maintaining a healthy relationship with your mentors
  • How to approach people you admire to mentor you

[40:00 – 54:00] African’s & Mentorship

  • Factors that affect networking in the African community
  • The culture barriers and imposter syndrome
  • Replacing our fear with audacity

[54:00 – 1:06:00] The Mentor-Mentee Relationships

  • Having an abundance mentality in the community
  • Good character traits that will encourage mentorship in our community
  • The struggle older people have with asking for mentoring
  • Having each one teach three mindset

[1:06:00 – 1:33:00]  Mentor-Mentee Expectations

  • Mentors don’t owe mentee’s anything
  • Mentee’s must put in all the work
  • Keeping a healthy relationship
  • Having measurable expectations

[1:33:00 – 1:41:00]  What Mentorship Is

  • Mentorship as an act of service
  • Mentorship is a calling

[1:41:00 – 1:49:00] Final Words

  • Tips to finding a great mentor
  • Dr. Sidonie & Dr. Zera share their last words
  • Anyoh’s summarization of the conversation


“I see mentorship as someone that can pick you up when you are down and it is very different from a coach. I see mentorships as lifelong engagements. A mentor is someone that holds your hand and keeps you accountable and really bores into you when you are down and vice versa.” – Dr.  Sidonie Niba

“When you put yourself out there with no expectations, it may be 1 out of 50 people you make an outreach to [who will get back to you], but all you need is one. You can’t handle 50 mentors, coaches or sponsors. You just need one.” – Dr. Sidonie Niba

“If we think with a mind of abundance, that there are plenty of opportunities and enough space for everybody to grow and be the best in what they want to do, there is a benefit for everybody to do well as a community.” – Dr. Zera Hongla

“There is more of an issue with age gaps. I think older people have an issue being mentored by younger people in our culture, which teaches that age is a huge deal. Why will a parent ask a child for advice? That is what I see in those generational gaps and older people thinking that the younger ones cannot bring value to them.” – Dr. Sidonie Niba

“Sometimes we get into this position in a company and we do not put ourselves in a position to have a pull. Sometimes you need to get into a room for reasons beyond yourself because if you cannot make or influence a decision, then how can you help someone else or make an impact?” – Dr. Zera Hongla

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