Posts Tagged ‘mentoring program’

Women and Mentoring Feedback

June 14, 2012

Mentors and mentees in a local mentoring program recently provided feedback on their mentoring experience over this past year.  The value of mentoring was highly rated by both the mentors and the mentees.  As always, high number ratings were gratifying to see, but the comments offered the most insight.  One mentee found value in “having time set aside to discuss the issues I have with my work-life balance and business challenges with a neutral third party.”  Said one mentor, “I felt like I was able to provide meaningful advice that was helpful during a time of change within her organization.”  And their biggest challenge over this past year?  Finding the time (or making the time) to meet was mentioned most often by both mentors and mentees.  Surprised?  I’m not.  However, there are so many ways that mentors and mentees can connect and still have a meaningful relationship without taking large chunks of time away from other priorities.  I enjoyed hearing from the mentor who told me that they always walk when they talk, multi-tasking whenever they meet.


Women and Mentoring

May 2, 2012

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with a mentoring program for women.  This particular mentoring program consists of women mentoring other women.  Currently, there are 60+ women involved in the program.  We are now in the process of training new mentees and new mentors to be matched.  Some of these women are building careers in large corporations.  Some of the women are making a difference for others while employed in non-profit organizations.  Many are bravely striking out on their own as women entrepreneurs, starting their own businesses under tough economic conditions.

Two observations stand out for me from this experience.  First, the quality of the talent, knowledge, and experience that all of these women are willing to share is truly impressive.  They inspire me!  Second, there are many more women who could benefit from the opportunity to develop personally and professionally through a mentoring experience.  They motivate me to do more!

University Mentoring

March 20, 2012

I subscribe to an e-mail newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education.  This morning’s posts contained two articles concerning mentoring.

In the first article, “An Australian University Boosts Retention With Mentoring”, the university now has a student-led mentoring program after research found that 95% of the students who dropped out before graduation had not talked with anyone.  As a result of the mentoring program, an estimated 300 students are prevented from dropping out each year, saving approximately $3.2 million (US) in tuition.  It makes me wonder about what we are doing here in the US.  President Obama has made increased college graduation rates a priority.  Everyone thinks it is going to cost more money.  Has anyone thought of using a personal approach as part of the solution?

The second article, “Midcareer Mentoring, Part I” explores the need for career guidance for tenured faculty.  It seems that mentoring programs for those new to the profession are common, but those who have several years of experience face complications within their professional lives such as research, publishing, required service work, administration positions, and exploration of other positions at other institutions.  Usually, there is no one to confide in or to turn to for advice.  Why is that, and how can mentoring programs help these professionals who are areas of influence continue to reach their full potential?  (I guess I’ll have to watch for Part II.)

Mentors Needed

January 20, 2012

The daughter of one of my friends had wanted to become a nurse ever since she was a little girl.  Upon her college graduation, Lindsey (not her real name) was accepted into the nursing program at a large prestigious hospital.  She recently left after only one year.  My friend says that there was a sink-or-swim attitude among the more experienced nurses at the hospital which made a difficult job even more stressful.  She says that if Lindsey had had a mentor to provide guidance regarding hospital procedures and culture, she might still be there.

Our local newspaper, The Post-Crescent, just featured an editorial regarding the upcoming retirement of baby boomers and the hiring of new employees to replace them.  The potential numbers are huge!  For example, 1/3 of the public school teachers in our local area could retire in the next 10 years.  The editorial suggested mentoring as a way to transfer teaching skills and knowledge to the next generation of teachers with minimal cost.  The article stated that industries around the country could benefit if mentoring was implemented for knowledge transfer.

What about your community and your workplace?  It’s time to establish mentoring programs now – before more valuable people and knowledge are lost!


Go Green Bay Packers!

January 12, 2012

I’m going to be cheering for the Green Bay Packers this coming Sunday, as they advance in the playoffs.  Did you know that the Packers organization sponsors mentoring too?  Who knew?!!   In addition to their mentoring program set up within the Packer organization to develop its new team members, the Green Bay Packers Mentor-Protégé Program matches mentor companies within Brown County to protégé companies who are looking to improve in the areas of technology, management, finance, etc.  AFF Research is administering this program on behalf of the Packers.  Call 920-884-5006 or e-mail to  The deadline to apply is January 31.


January 9, 2012

Is it me, or is mentoring getting more attention lately?  I am certainly attuned to mentoring, so perhaps I just notice it more, but I do believe that mentoring became more newsworthy in 2011.

A few recent local examples were:

  • Growth of mentoring programs in support of personal and professional growth, such as within the Mid-Day Women’s Alliance.
  • Highlighting of volunteer mentors like Roxanne Mehlberg for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Implementation of mentoring programs to ensure the smooth transition of board members, as for the Harbor House Domestic Abuse Program.
  • Recognition of All Star Mentors within the NEW (Northeast Wisconsin) Manufacturing Alliance.
    • Cynthia Schmoller – Sargento Foods, Inc
    • Mike Masar – Georgia-Pacific

There are many more examples I could cite; but at the same time, there are many more people within industry, non-profit organizations, and our communities nationwide that could benefit from having a mentor or becoming a mentor.  As our economy continues to improve in 2012, mentoring must play a greater role in triggering innovation and filling the current skill deficit.

Matching Mentees with Their Mentors

October 15, 2011

I am often asked how matches are made within the Mid-Day Mentoring Program that was mentioned in my previous blog entry.  In the Mid-Day Mentoring Program, both mentors and mentees complete confidential questionnaires.   Mentees rank areas of focus that they would like to receive mentoring in.  These areas of focus are the starting point for the match.  Mentors are then selected for each mentee based on their knowledge and experience, as indicated in their completed questionnaires.  Of course, there is also some “matching magic” involved!  That’s when hobbies and other common interests are considered to ensure that both the mentee and mentor will find elements on which to build a fulfilling mentoring relationship.  I recently received the following e-mail message from one of the mentors:  “met with my mentee today…  lovely woman… luv her… you did a great match… i think it’s mutual…”  I ask you, now how cool is that?!!

Mid-Day Mentoring Program

October 13, 2011

A Mentoring Program was established for the Mid-Day Women’s Alliance in Appleton, WI early last year.   As a co-chair for that program, I am pleased to report that the program not only continues to grow, but it is also attracting new members to the  organization.  Women who are interested in participating in the program have responded to our program’s publicity and are getting involved, either as a mentee or mentor.  More than 40 area individuals are currently participating in the mentoring program which offers training to mentors and mentees along with the opportunity to experience a confidential and trusting  relationship.  Anyone interested in becoming members and participating in the program should contact the Mid-Day Women’s Alliance at

By Request – Mentor Responsibilities

August 9, 2011

Last week, I responded to a request that I republish the Mentee Responsibilities that I had listed in a blog entry a couple of years ago.  To be fair, I am now putting the Mentor Responsibilities out again as well.  Every successful mentoring relationship depends on the contributions of both parties – Mentor and Mentee.  So whether you are mentoring an individual as part of a formal mentoring program within an organization or you are mentoring someone informally, you want to fulfill your responsibilities in that relationship.  Those responsibilties include:

  • Draft mentoring objectives for yourself and plan to share these with your Mentee at one of your first meetings.
  • Meet regularly.  As the Mentor, you should set up the first meeting for yourself and your new Mentee.  Your Mentee can set up a schedule of regular meetings for both of you after that.
  • Be an active listener.  Ask questions to better understand.
  • Encourage your Mentee to take charge of his/ her own action planning, learning, and development.
  • Offer feedback or advice, when requested.
  • Ask for feedback, i.e. “Was this meeting helpful?”
  • Maintain confidentiality.  Discussions and the topics of those discussions are between you and your Mentee and are not to be shared outside of the mentoring relationship.

Being aware of your responsibilities as a Mentor will get the relationship with your Mentee off to a great start and help both of you learn and grow.

By Request – Mentee Responsibilities

August 2, 2011

Making relationships work takes, well, work.  I’ve been asked to repeat the listing of Mentee Responsibilities that I had included in a much earlier blog.  As a mentee, you want to do your part in building a strong mentoring relationship.  So, whether you have been matched with a mentor through an organizational mentoring program or whether you have taken the initiative to find your own mentor, begin by taking these steps.

  •  If you haven’t done so already, prepare a draft of your objectives for the relationship.  You will want to share these with your mentor at one of your first meetings.
  • Take charge of your learning and development.  Once the two of you have agreed on meeting frequency, offer to schedule future meetings with your mentor.  Plan informal agendas for each meeting, based on the objectives you have developed.
  • Solicit your mentor’s opinions and advice on projects, observations, career direction, or other issues.
  • Be an active listener.
  • Let your mentor know of any outcomes that result from a meeting discussion.  They will appreciate your follow up.
  • Thank your mentor for providing advice, assisting with an action plan, or just listening.
  • Maintain confidentiality.  Discussions and the topics of those discussions are between you and your mentor and are not to be shared outside of the mentoring relationship.

Taking on your mentee responsibilities will get your relationship with your mentor off to a great start and help you achieve your