One year ago, the inaugural mentorship class started their journey together. The Mentor Program was launched to support the professional development of current and future managers. Employees across the corporation applied to become both mentors and mentees.
Mentor Sandy Chilton was interested in the pilot program right away. She reported, “I thought my experience would make me an effective champion for a new initiative and help folks see the importance and value of the program.”
Two cohorts were selected in a competitive process. Participants had many reasons for applying. Mentee Amanda Cortes applied to the program because she felt ready for the next step in her career, “I looked at the mentorship program as a way to get more connected with some of the people in management. And it did have that effect.”
Mentor Eileen MacDonald wanted to give back, “I’ve had mentors in my life who guided me, made me feel valued, and pushed me outside my comfort zone. I want people to have that experience.”
Each mentor and mentee agreed to meet weekly. The purpose of the meetings was not to provide supervision, but to build the mentee’s understanding of leadership and management roles through one-on-one time with an experienced leader.
Mentee Cordella Akinbiodun reported that her mentor “helped me better understand myself and communicate better with my staff and with my supervisor.”
The mentors were also meeting monthly as a group, since not all of them had served in a mentor role previously. Even experienced mentors recognized the potential for everyone to grow. “I’m happy to learn from them and I hope they can learn from me,” said mentor Lisa Riggi.
Each cohort of six pairs attended trainings together on topics such as having difficult conversations and offering feedback. These events were an opportunity for mentors and mentees to explore specific leadership expectations at Aspire. Mentors and mentees could then use these resources as a jumping off point for their weekly conversations.
“The trainings were an opportunity for me to think about and elevate those foundations that should be part of the everyday things we’re doing,” noted mentee Meghan Murphy.
The first anniversary of the Aspire Mentor Program was marked by celebration and reflection on November 2, as participants gathered for a final all-day event. The milestone capped a successful year of learning for everyone involved.
Aspire congratulates all the 2022 participants for their accomplishments. New pairs of mentees and mentors have been selected and will be starting their work soon. The next phase will incorporate lessons learned from the pilot as well as expand the program.