Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Dr. Comfort Okpala


This study explored the lived mentoring experiences of African American senior leaders who report directly to Vice Presidents or Presidents in a corporate setting, and how those mentoring experiences played a role in their leadership skills. African Americans having the guidance to appropriately navigate an organization to acquire those positions continue to be perplexing. Mentoring could be one essential step to help African Americans to prepare to lead in a corporate setting. Mentoring is a growth and development technique that has been in existence for quite some time and has helped many to understand how developmental relationships have proven its effectiveness and usefulness. A less experienced employee having a more experienced employee as a mentor is a way to transfer tacit and technical knowledge and can act as a succession plan to prepare high potential employees to further their careers. Using a qualitative methodology, this study explored the phenomenon of lived mentoring experiences of senior leaders in a corporate setting. The findings of this study suggest that mentoring experiences can help individuals reach career goals they set for themselves due to the tutelage, support, and connection to influential mentors and sponsors. Having the guidance of mentors to expose them to opportunities for visibility, projects, and new job opportunities was clearly linked to their knowledge base, experience, drive for success, persistence, and confidence in themselves. This study shows that African Americans continue to experience barriers and challenges in the workplace; however, learning how to navigate around those barriers and to stand firm in their convictions permit them to enjoy a career in senior leadership.