“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
The concept of mentorship has long been a mainstay of the corporate community for decades. The social sector has however lagged behind in terms of incorporating mentorship into its repertoire for building internal capacity and developing the next generation of leaders for the social sector. But this is changing. The sector has come to recognize, that among others things, there are three compelling reasons to develop and maintain robust mentorship initiatives in that they:
- Facilitate succession planning and knowledge transfer
- Enhance the retention of diverse and creative individuals
- Develop a wide range of competencies necessary for organizational sustainability
One cautionary note- mentorship initiatives have limitations. They must not be viewed by mentees as an inside track to promotion or a guarantee of advancement. Rather they should be seen as an opportunity to deepen one’s skill set and develop strong relational habits that will guide professional behavior across a career.
Young Professionals Leading The Way-Right Here In Cleveland
It is exciting to note that young professionals in the nonprofit community are beginning to take the lead in developing and implementing mentorship programs. These initiatives are focused on a multigenerational approach which enables emergent leaders to develop their professional “voice” thereby strengthening their impact on the social sector.
One local example is the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network-Cleveland’s (YNPN) “Mentor-Positive Nonprofits: Intergenerational How-To and Hackathon” coming up on November 10, 2104.
This is a sector-wide, intergenerational symposium which will explore the ins and outs of mentorship and “hacking” through to a more supportive and engaged nonprofit community and provides the tools needed to embrace mentoring. The symposium will include:
- Defining successful mentor pairs
- Examining nuances of the mentor-mentee relationship
- Brainstorming innovative approaches to creating a mentor-positive community
The event is intended for a wide range of audiences:
- Managers who hope to implement mentoring at their organizations
- Experienced professionals who don’t know what they have to offer as a mentor
- Mid-level workers who want to take their career to the next level by learning from-and actively guiding-others
- Entry-level nonprofit professionals who aren’t sure how to get started
The “Mentor-Positive Nonprofits: Intergenerational How-To and Hackathon” is but one way YNPN-Cleveland is engaging across generations to help transform the sector.
As always, be focused on knowledge, innovation and impact!
John Patrick Bailey, Ph.D.