January is national mentoring month! Launched in 2021 with a proclamation by President Biden, the campaign aims to unify and expand the mentoring movement, celebrate the power of relationships, and raise awareness around the importance of youth mentoring in the United States.
A mentor is an individual with expertise who can help develop the career of a mentee. As government employees, we appreciate the benefits of mentoring as a tool for career development and recognize it as a key strategy for career progression.
The Value of Mentorship
Two of the main benefits of mentoring are as follows:
- Career Strategy: Career mentors help their mentees stay focused and on track in their career through advice, skill development, resources, and networking.
- Expanded Network: A career mentor can help a mentee to expand their network by introducing them to other people in positions to help further their professional goals.
Where to find a mentor?
Professional associations, alumni gatherings and government and industry conferences and events are good places to find potential mentors and coaches. In today’s tech-savvy world, some find mentors/coaches via:
- Young Government Leader Mentoring Program: The YGL Mentoring Program offers the opportunity for individuals new to government or early in their government careers to form quality connections with senior management employees. These connections are imperative to developing the next generation of government leaders.
- LinkedIn: Dubbed the World’s Largest Professional Network; a popular social networking site for professionals.
- Work Buzz: An online community for job seekers, powered by CareerBuilder, containing a variety of professional articles and career advice.
- Meetup: The world’s largest network of local groups, striving to “revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize.”
Look within your agency. Many agencies (federal, state, and local) have formal mentoring programs. Contact your HR for details.
Remember, “a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey
Malissa Lewis serves as the Chief of the Loan Repayment Branch in HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW). She leads a team of nineteen analysts who work to strengthen the healthcare workforce and build healthy communities through the administration several workforce loan repayment programs.
Prior to the Loan Repayment Branch, she served as a section chief in the Division’s Scholarship Branch. Malissa has over 11 years of public health experience and leadership experience.