Marissa Marquez, Assistant City Attorney at City of Houston’s Office of Inspector General, was a participant in this year’s GovLoop Mentorship Program cohort. As we finished up the 2015 program, Marquez recounted how her mentor, John Sim, an Assistant Director in the Justice Management Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, helped her rethink her professional approach and career path. She also described how the program itself created a great mentorship experience.
Can you describe your mentorship experience?
My mentorship experience was awesome! Even though my mentor was located in Washington, D.C. and I was in Houston, Texas, it was one of the best mentoring experiences that I’ve ever had. I really liked the mentorship agreement we created, because it established a roadmap for us. We met over the phone approximately every 2-3 weeks for at least 45 minutes. I was prepared with questions at every phone meeting we had. I usually had questions about how to handle situations at work, so between our meetings I took down notes on what I wanted to ask him. On one occasion, I specifically asked my mentor to help me on becoming a better writer, so he gave me a short writing assignment and at our next meeting we discussed it. It was very helpful!
Is there a defining moment of your mentorship that you can share?
Yes, when my mentor told me that listening was a big part of becoming a leader. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about that! My mentor told me that the higher up you go, the importance of “listening” becomes more and more important.
What was your favorite part of your mentorship experience?
I really enjoyed the NextGen Summit and meeting my mentor in-person at the same time. I also found that my mentor is a cyclist! That gave us something outside of work to talk about!
Do you have any mentorship best practices to offer future mentors and mentees?
At the beginning, make sure to do the Mentorship Agreement (a document that defines the mentoring relationship between both the mentee and mentor)! Set your goals, expectations, etc. on paper! Then, as you get going, make sure to also set your next meeting date with your mentor at the end of your current meeting.
Finally, taking your mentorship program experience seriously will definitely help you in reaching your professional goals! You’re going to get out what you put into your mentorship program experience so work it! For example, ask yourself: “At the end of this, what do I want to achieve? Is it how to be a better manager? Or, a leader in general? Or, just a better employee?”
If you’re interested in getting involved as a mentee or mentor in our 2016 cohort, check out the Mentors Program site on GovLoop.com.