Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Theresa Coble, PhD


Theresa Coble, PhD

Carl Hoagland, PhD

Keith Miller, PhD


As researcher-practitioners, we noted that the literature on mentorship has increased dramatically in recent years. However, the literature lacks attention to female paired mentoring relationships, especially relationships between women of color. Although we did not initially set out to fill this gap, our research does bring attention to the power of mentorship relationships between women of color. We explore three critical factors of an effective, female mentor-mentee relationship: social capital development (i.e., expand networks, build relationships), social and emotional learning (i.e., strengthen emotional resilience, increase self-awareness), and awareness of intersectionality (i.e., interact with role models, draw upon one’s unique identities). The purpose of this generic qualitative study is to explore how social capital development, social-emotional learning (SEL), and sensitivity to female intersectionality influence successful outcomes for adult (18 years old and older) female mentors and mentees in the St. Louis region. In our research, we center mentorship stories of female mentors that help illustrate the complexity and interconnectedness of these three critical factors of effective mentorship. We identify six themes that address these critical factors, and within each theme, we also address the pitfalls and challenges noted by participants. Overall, we found that mentoring relationships that address each of these critical factors foster successful mentoring outcomes. The weakest factor we identified in the mentoring relationship was the need for formal mentoring organizations and informal mentors to address all aspects of intersectionality, particularly a mentee’s LGBTQ+ identity. By addressing each of these critical factors equally, mentors and their mentees will be best positioned for a successful future. As most mentoring research features participants that fit White, male, heterosexual norms, we chose to address a gap in the mentoring research by centering black female mentorship stories and amplifying their lived experiences.