Careers

Why the CEO of SoulCycle sets up monthly meetings with her 'millennial mentor'

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan.
Getty Images
SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan.

One of the most common pieces of advice young professionals receive is to find trusted mentors who can help guide and advise their career choices. Sound advice, but some CEOs are reversing that wisdom and relying on today's millennial generation to become their mentors, rather than mentees.

Take SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan for example. At an event co-sponsored by Keds and LOLA last week in honor of Women's Equality Day, Whelan spoke about her millennial mentor and why she schedules monthly meetings with her.

"I think what I'm most excited about right now is my new millennial mentor," Whelan said. "I've decided as a newly-turned-40-year-old mother with two children who is running a company...I am not hip with what the kids are doing these days."

Pedestrians pass a SoulCycle location in New York.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Pedestrians pass a SoulCycle location in New York.

Elaborating on how her younger colleague informs her on what she should be reading and the latest apps to download, Whelan referred to her young mentor as her new boss, and said, "I think great advice comes from all over the place."

While Whelan may be one of the latest CEOs to talk about the importance of seeking advice from younger professionals, she certainly isn't the first. Lloyd's of London CEO Inga Beale spoke to CNBC in June about the impact young people have had on her company and professional life.

Bloomberg | Contributor | Getty Images

"I meet with them regularly to chat about what's going on in their world, how they think of things, and how we can do things differently in the company to appeal to that generation. I find things like that help me get inspired," said Beale.

The first female CEO in Lloyd's of London's 328-year history, Beale says reverse mentorship is what has helped her company to think outside the box when it comes to new ideas.

"We do actually take the ideas that come out of the conversations and make them happen," added Beale. "We put in place new practices. We take ideas from our employees about how to make the workplace better."

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