It’s been a year now that we started our mentoring committee. Initially it was an ad hoc committee…meaning “Let’s see how this goes and if we can get it off the ground.” Now, it’s all grown up and is its own official committee under Women’s Network.
I’ve been pleased with how our first year has gone. We did some things well. We have opportunities to improve. But more important than anything, we were loyal to our mission of connecting, empowering and engaging women.
As we paired 10 eager women with each other, we considered personality styles, goals, communication preferences and industries. One of the things we did struggle with was…how much structure is the right amount? Do we provide a great deal of structure and guidance so that no one is wondering what is next and potentially lose the organic chemistry that comes from two people building their own relationship? Or, do we just let it flow naturally and see what happens? I know it sounds like an easy answer but get a bunch of people around a table and see what you come up with! There are very strong arguments for both sides.
Well, we landed on the side of “less is more.” We set the expectations that there would be one meeting a month between the pair and one new connection made for the mentee per month. Outside of that, we let them work it out themselves. The results were really interesting. We had everything from highly structured to the highly relational and in between.
Here are some of the things these ladies have had to say about the program:
“I am an organic mentor, but I will tell you that I’ve really felt blessed to have been connected with my mentee.”
“It took us a couple of meetings to find our groove, but now we’re clicking. I really enjoy the opportunity to continue flexing my business mind with her every month, though.”
“I feel we have accomplished most, if not all, of her goals!”
“We are both dedicated to making it a good experience.”
“I couldn’t have picked a better mentor and she has met my expectations for this program as far as connecting me with other women business owners.”
Based on this feedback plus much more in-depth analysis, we will be going in to this next year of programming with a refreshed approach. The new committee will be overseen by our WN Past Chair Jessica Macy. There will be a wee bit more structure with suggested curriculum as well as opportunities for more people to be able to participate.
We will be having a meeting soon to kick off the new session. If you have a passion for mentoring or would like to be involved, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, keep an eye out for your chance to apply as either a mentee or a mentor.
Thank you, again, to the women who were patient and flexible and brave enough to engage with us in this first year.
Audrey Sharp (Mentee) with Suzanne Rothwell (Mentor)
Krista Kippenberger (Mentee) with Emily Thoroughman (Mentor)
Cara Owings (Mentee) with Mary Ropp (Mentor)
Danielle Harrison (Mentee) with Anna Hargis (Mentor)
Julie McDermott (Mentee) with Kat Cunningham (Mentor)