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Project of the Week – Young Acquisition Professionals New Mentoring Program

We all have one or more people we can point to over our lives who have made an impression on us or provided help, guidance or support in some way. How would things be different for you if you didn’t have this support or the opportunities that resulted? I for one am grateful for the people throughout my life who have helped shape me and give me opportunities to learn, and to support me as they nudged me outside my comfort zone. Recognizing the importance of such people and opportunities combined with a passion for government acquisition (where did that come from?) Govloop member Sterling Whitehead took some initiative and started a mentoring program within the Young Acquisition Professionals Group.

Sterling talks about the program and how you can get involved.

1. Description of the mentoring program as it exists now and how people are participating/can participate.

Right now, The YAP Mentor-Mentee Program is an informal program designed to be (a) free and (b) easy to do. Seriously, all it takes is one phone call a week and several emails throughout the week. That amounts to very little time, but the results can be invaluable. The maximum commitment is for 3 months, so Mentors and Mentees can work with several people through a year.

2. What is your goal with the mentoring program?

Plain and simple: Free recruiting and training. We’re losing acquisition folks, and those ranks have to be more than replaced – they have to be swelled. And there’s no better way to do this than using the best four letter word beginning with F – FREE.

3. What benefits exist for Mentors and Mentees?

For Mentees, you can put “YAP Mentor-Mentee Program” on your resume. I encourage and invite this.

Recognition is also one of the most powerful and overlooked incentives. People like seeing their efforts acknowledged. Its human nature, and people appreciate it.

YAP currently doesn’t acknowledge its Mentors and Mentees. I’m working on ideas to rollout in the next few weeks. These could be anything from Twitter shout outs to press releases. I’m open to suggestions. Whatever the solution is, I know it has to be simple, repeatable, cost-efficient and effective.

4. What does success look like?

Good question. In the short-term, success is making sure the program helped someone a job or got them started in the profession.

In the long-run, success is hard to define. However, I’d like to Feed graduated mentees into advanced mentoring programs. YAP’s Mentor-Mentee Program should only be a starting point. Educations must progress! One mentoring program I’d like to feed graduates into is ACT-IAC’s Voyagers Program (http://www.actgov.org/education/Voyagers/Pages/default.aspx). This program serves GS-11s and GS-13s in the federal government and is well renowned. Feeding YAP graduates into that program can continue educations and serve as a recruiting tool for the ACT-IAC. It’s pretty much a win-win.

5. What challenges are you encountering?

The two major challenges I’m facing are getting a YAP Logo and recruiting more Mentors and Mentees. The Mentor-Mentee Program has become the cornerstone of YAP, and we’re ready to scale up. We just need the raw recruits.

6. How can the Govloop community help make this successful?

There are three ways GovLoopers can help:

a) Post links to possible logos: Suggesting a logo is great, but it’s much better if the link is provided so I can find the logo.

b) Be a Mentor (http://youngacq.weebly.com/mentor-mentee-program.html): If you have just a bit of time to give, being a Mentors takes one phone call and a few emails a week. That’s it. Hunt me down if I’m wrong. Heck, I have immediate needs for two Mentors right now.

c) Be a Mentee (http://youngacq.weebly.com/mentor-mentee-program.html): If your friend or you would like to break into the industry, this is a great way to do it. Besides, you can put it on your resume. And it’s free. Did I mention the part about not costing money?

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Love the mentor/mentee concept.

This brain drain will happen in many different areas of government (from human capital to IT) but I think acquisitions will be one of those hit hardest.

These relationships are a win/win and I hope that we see more and more of them.

Harold (Hal) Good, CPPO

Great project! Beneficial to those entering the profession and those transitioning within. Project is ongoing and free! Congrats to all involved, especially project creator, Sterling Whitehead!

Jeremiah Holder

Hello Sterling,

I signed up, but am not sure I am the right candidate material. I participated in and helped organize a similar program for a aerospace giant recently. It was great to establish those relationships and to help foster them for others.

I am sure you find your role and the rewards from it very satisfying.

Keep it up!


p.s. I tried finding a suitable logo, but logo selection has a lot to do with culture and I am not that familiar with your organizations culture.