Looking for a Mentor

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  James V. Pritchert 11 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #61880

    Mark Oehlert
    Participant

    So…any hints/tips on finding a good mentor? Within DOD would be preferred but outside DOD is OK…my concern is that compared to the private sector – where I worked until about a year ago – there seems to be a lack of available or maybe just visible to me, career path counseling within my org.

  • #61912

    James V. Pritchert
    Participant

    I have run many successful senior level mentoring programs while I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Finding the right mentor can mean everything to you in terms of development and advancement.

    You will probably need to chase one down. In my search for program participants, I heard the same thing over and over again, “I am too busy, no time.” Obviously, there is time and the senior leaders need to acknowledge that. In one case, I approached an Undersecretary to give me some likely names. Armed with that list, I was able to tell the likely participants that they were specially named by the Undersecretary and they signed on.

    I suggest that you try this approach since it is relatively painless and it will give you a rich source of potential mentors. Once you have narrowed your list of likely mentors, present them with a short list, possibly five things that you are seeking in a mentor and see if they can accommodate that. Agree on a mentoring program length, perhaps one year and decide how much time your mentor will devote to you. At least four hours per month is a good start.

    It’s very important to find a mentor who will challenge you and energize you. It’s not important that you like each other, but you must have mutual respect and honesty. In other words, find someone as different from you as possible. That may be in your current organization or in another one.

    Good luck.

  • #61910

    Pam Broviak
    Participant

    Mark,
    Earlier this year I was introduced to a professional organization established for the purpose of facilitating mentoring. The name of the group is MentorNet, and they seem mainly focused on providing mentoring for people in engineering and science related industries. Not sure if this is something that can help, but it might be worth looking at.

  • #61908

    Mark Oehlert
    Participant

    James,

    Thanks for the reply and the advice. I like the bit about getting the list from the Big Boss and then using that – well played sir. 🙂

    Mark

  • #61906

    Mark Oehlert
    Participant

    Pam,

    Thanks – I’ll check it out…do you think it might be worthwhile to start a “Find a Mentor” group here?

    mark

    p.s. I like the SL avatar…

  • #61904

    Pam Broviak
    Participant

    I looked and there is no group yet for mentors so I think it would be a good idea for you to set one up. Then people can join and indicate if they are available to be a mentor or if they are looking for a mentor and in what particular field or skill. Or maybe it is something that can be added to our profile questions.

    (I actually found out about MentorNet in SL; I’ve found SL to be a great place to learn new things and meet people)

  • #61902

    Melissa Merrell
    Participant

    Hi Mark – I think setting up a group would be a great idea. As part of my work with AABPA, I connect students with professionals in the budgeting profession during our symposia. It’s only a casual connection and not a formal mentoring relationship but I’ve found that AABPA members are very open to sharing their knowledge and advice.

    Good luck and I’ll keep an eye out for the group,

    Melissa

  • #61900

    Mark Oehlert
    Participant

    OK…started the group, its here. So head over and sign up if you’d like. Thatnks to all for the contact suggestions – I’ll be tracking those down. 🙂

    Oh and Shelley, I think you may have mis-read my bio…I went to “American University”…the school in NW DC…:-)

    Mark

  • #61898

    Chris St.John
    Participant

    For a couple of years, I looked for a career counselor, aka Mentor, that could occasionally give me good advice where there was none in my command. Finally after a few well placed emails and discussions within the Senior Executives Association, two months ago they began a mentoring program. I now have a mentor, a retired DoD SES, and we have exchanged philosophies, ideas, and he has given me some very good suggestions to advance my career aspirations. So, if you are a GS14/15, take a look at the program. It works

  • #61896

    Mary Mitchell
    Participant

    Many senior executives are willing to mentor but are not active within any official program. First, know what your career objectives are. Look at the thought leadership who fill positions in the path you are striving for. Ask them for advice.

  • #61894

    Melissa Merrell
    Participant

    Hi Mark – I just attended the AABPA symposium last week and the opening speaker was Sallyanne Harper from GAO. She talked extensively about the GAO training program which includes some unique mentoring opportunities. You might want to look into their program for some ideas. Her slides are posted at aabpa.org.

  • #61892

    Anita Arile
    Participant

    Wow, I’m currently going thru The USDA’s Graduate School’s Executive Leadership Development Program and I too am having a bit of a tough time finding a mentor whom can boost me towards my ultimate dream career… I guess it’s all a matter of changing my outlook of the potentials I have and my attitude about what I expect (at least a little bit)… good luck with yours!

  • #61890

    Mark Oehlert
    Participant

    Bryan …..thanks…at one level I just need someone at a low level to help me find my way through this maze and at another level…I need someone to help me think through how long I want to stay in the Fed…

  • #61888

    Mark Oehlert
    Participant

    Melissa,

    Thanks for the pointer…I will definitely check out the slides…

  • #61886

    Mark Oehlert
    Participant

    Anita,

    I guess one question is what is your “ultimate dream career”?

    M

  • #61884

    Anita Arile
    Participant

    My ultimate dream career? wow, it involves a little bit of this and a little bit of that… I seem to have a hybrid knowledge of accounting (particularly in auditing), computer technology (most especially in webmastering) and more of public administration (since this is especially my degree of study)… so my dream career is to one day lead my agency as a Director (or Deputy Director)… but for now, I’ll settle as a Management Analyst… it’s quite diversified in our agency and I enjoy it!

    I’m under the USDA Graduate School’s Pacific Islands Training Incentive “Executive Leadership Development Program” and my mentor is the Internal Audit/Control Financial Manager… problem is, my mentor is afraid of giving me personal life lessons… I think he’s concentrating on the mentor definition too deeply.

  • #61882

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    How have others found their mentors? I’ve met a few of my mentors through associations as well as former bosses.

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