Friday, October 26, 2012

2012 Un/Conference Breakouts | Desiree Culpitt + Julia Quanrud: "Mentorship and the Emerging Professional"

The Minnesota Rising 2012 Un/Conference: Leveraging Expansive Leadership for Our Minnesota was held on Saturday, September 22, 2012 from 10:00AM – 4:30PM at DLR Group offices in Minneapolis, MN. Hosted by and for emerging leaders, the Un/Conference engaged emerging leaders across Minnesota in an energizing day of innovative learning and dialogue, skill-building, and network-building with their peers!

Minnesota Rising was pleased to feature some stellar breakout session presenters, including Desiree Culpitt and Julia Quanrud. See their notes below from the great conversation during the "Mentorship and the Emerging Professional" session!

The Minnesota Rising Un/Conference brought together a diverse set of mentors for the panel "Mentorship and the Emerging Professional."  Panel guests included:
  • Nancy Martel, Client Liaison at DLR Group
  • Susan Schuster, Senior Community Affairs Consultant, Public and Health Affairs at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • Ben Marcy, We-Make-It Man at Bedlam Theatre, Adjunct Professor at St. Kate's, Leadership Specialist at University of Minnesota
  • Marc Hosmer, Executive Director/CEO at Urban Boatbuilders, Non-Profit Services Program Assistant at Charities Review Council
  • Consuelo Gutierrez-Crosby, Civic Leadership Program Coordinator at Macalester College Civic Engagement Center
Seated in a circle with participants, the panelists shared their ideas and experiences with mentorship and then exchanged questions and ideas with the audience.  Key insights included:
  • Determine what kind of mentoring relationship you want. Mentor relationships can be formal or informal.  Informal mentorships lack the facilitator or program that establishes a formal mentorship; informal mentorships are about taking someone under your wing.  Formal mentorships have set goals, timelines, and outcomes.
    • If you have a formal mentorship opportunity, take it.  Opportunities are rare for formal mentorships.If you're an informal mentor, it's the responsibility of the mentee to manage the relationship.
    • Your boss is not your mentor.  You need to be able to show your weaknesses to a mentor, which isn't always advisable with a boss.
  • What do mentors get out of a mentoring relationship?
    • Mentorship is about paying it forward.  Mentors are looking to return on the investment others made in them.
    • Mentors value how the relationship helps them grow, as well as the new perspectives they gain from their mentee.
  • Tips for finding a mentor:
    • Identify what you need in a mentor and look for a mentor who has that experience.
    • Network and conduct informational interviews to find your mentor.
    • Ask your boss for ideas on who could mentor you.
    • Don't be afraid to ask people to mentor you.
  • Alternative forms of mentorship:
    • Recently, some individuals have been seeking mentors that are significantly younger than themselves, turning traditional mentoring relationships on their head.
    • Form a group of peers at other companies to get together with and share concerns.
    • Get involved in a networking group or a coaching circle.
  • Tricks for setting your mentorship up for success:
    • Read up on mentorship so that you have a knowledge base to inform what you need from the relationship.
    • Set goals and share them with your mentor.
    • Readjust and diversify your goals.
    • Self-advocacy and asking questions are critical mentee skills.
    • Trust is a two-way street.  A mentor and a mentee need to know their strengths and weeknesses and be ready to share them.
    • WIFM:  "What's in if for me?"  Keep this acronym in mind when you have a mentor.  What is your mentor getting out of the experience?
    • Don't let this concept get in the way of seeking a mentor, however.
    • Ask what you can do to help your mentor.  Bring your help to them.
    • When you look good, you make your mentor look good.
    • Sometimes, though, a mentor may see those benefits only with time and reflection.  It's an investment.
    • Mentors should be good listeners and ask the mentee questions.
    • When the mentor listens, they should avoid judgment.  A good mentor is also reliable and flexible.
Recommended reading:
  • The Leader Who Had No Titles: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life by Robin Sharma
  • Leaders of Today and Tomorrow (LOTT) Fellows Program, a formal mentorship program for college-aged and emerging professional women through the League of Women Voters.  Applications due October 12. 
  • The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota can help you find a mentor program (both youth and adult opportunities).  More information here
  • The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation hosts Neighborhood Leadership Programs.  More information here

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