By Scott Balderson and Kathy Partlow
The Mentoring Committee recently surveyed the 2018-2019 Mentoring Program participants, which has 60 pairs (the largest group yet!). We had 40 out of 86 participants complete the survey (27 mentees, 9 mentors, and 4 both). As part of the survey, we received feedback on some ways we can improve the resources we developed for mentor-mentee pairs, including the OnBoarding Packet tools and webinar series that are available to all NORDP members. These can serve as a framework and guide for being intentional about your professional development. Topics include a guide to initial conversations, a self-assessment worksheet, mapping your network, and individual professional development plans. While the OnBoarding resources are optional for matched pairs, participants that employed the materials found them very or somewhat useful (100% for the tools and 95% for the webinars) for their mentoring relationship. These tools and webinars are always available to you through the NORDP Mentoring Toolkit on the NORDP website.
Also from the survey, we are excited to see that most of this year’s participants are new to the program. Specifically, it was the first year in the program for 73% of the mentees. In addition, 77% of mentors are serving as a mentor for the first time. While glad that the program is serving new mentees and mentors, we would like to encourage past program participants to consider re-engaging as mentors or mentees. Regardless of where we are in our career path, we can all benefit from having both mentee and mentor relationships. The most common benefits, perhaps, can be summarized using words from this year’s participants in response to our query on the most useful element of the program: having a “sounding board” with an “outside perspective” where we can have “honest conversations” and “get to know new RD professionals and learn from them.”
We plan to present the full survey results at the conference so stay tuned. Have other thoughts or ideas you’d like to share with the Mentoring Committee? Feel free to leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org