Mentoring. It sounds like a good idea. But finding ways to fit this into a networked, constantly connected, and over-messaged environment can be difficult. While individuals are finding themselves in more and more networks, their ability to develop deeper relationships within those networks often takes a backseat to accomplishing tasks. Additionally, the generations within the workplace have different expectations regarding feedback and relationship development. Finally, creating mentoring programs that provide access to large numbers while also providing the opportunity for stimulating connections has traditionally been challenging. To address some of these challenges, the Office of the President and the Office of the Senior VP/COO at Georgetown University sponsored “Speed Mentoring.”
How Did It Work?
The Speed Mentoring Event was created to give many members of the university community the opportunity to meet and interact with university leadership. Participants (mentees) were invited to a two hour session and assigned to one of 12 tables with three to four people to a table. A university leader was placed at each table and introduced themselves to the larger group by saying what they enjoy or what inspires them about working at Georgetown . The leaders then talked with the people at their table for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the leaders rotated to another table. Over the course of the program, the groups of participants at the tables had the opportunity to meet with about seven to eight of the university leaders that were a part of the session.
What Was the Reaction?
Success!!! Mentees were excited about getting the opportunity to interact with leaders within the university, as well as to develop relationships with the cohort that emerged at their table. Many of these groups are continuing to meet and interact. Mentors were energized by the excitement in the room and the engaged mentees at their tables. One mentor found a person that could fit some of the needs in their department. The only negative feedback was that mentors and mentees wished they had more time.
Connecting people within an organization can give them an institutional perspective that contributes to the way that they fulfill the mission on a daily basis. The Speed Mentoring Event created a level playing field for participants and a non threatening, face-to-face opportunity to develop relationships within the organization.
Junie Nathani, Assistant Vice President, Leadership Resources at Georgetown University.
Jeanine W. Turner, PhD, is a Professor at Georgetown’s Communication, Culture and Technology Program and an Faculty Affiliate GUWLI.