The Art of Becoming a Better Mentor and Mentee - Networking
Part of workshop on mentoring lead by Donna Dean, executive consultant for Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and retired senior federal executive for the National Institutes of Health, and Cynthia Simpson, the chief business development officer for AWIS. The workshop was tailored to a community of both women and men and faculty, staff and students.
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[00:00:00.134]And so we're going to talk about networking
[00:00:02.122]and the importance of networking
[00:00:03.478]and how it relates back to the mentoring relationships.
[00:00:07.901]First of all, networking, as I mentioned earlier,
[00:00:10.116]can occur in any arena.
[00:00:11.780]It's occurring here now.
[00:00:13.651]At the break, you were interacting with each other.
[00:00:16.508]That's a very important component in establishing
[00:00:20.644]not only relationships,
[00:00:22.249]but relationships that could lead to
[00:00:24.350]either peer-to-peer mentoring
[00:00:26.919]or forming informal mentoring circles
[00:00:31.415]or establishing a more formal mentoring relationship
[00:00:34.979]with someone who is more senior.
[00:00:38.895]It can be face-to-face or virtual.
[00:00:41.710]Again, rather, it's face-to-face or virtual,
[00:00:44.238]the important component is making sure
[00:00:46.316]you establish those agendas,
[00:00:48.363]and you have very clear outline
[00:00:52.124]and goals and objectives
[00:00:54.339]communicated back so that each party understands
[00:00:58.051]what you're trying to accomplish.
[00:01:00.463]It can be very beneficial, as you all know,
[00:01:03.058]in making career decisions.
[00:01:05.755]And demands a degree of proactivity.
[00:01:08.483]You just can't sit back as a mentee
[00:01:12.386]and expect your mentor to tell you what to do
[00:01:16.121]to be successful.
[00:01:17.025]You have to take a role in that,
[00:01:19.620]you have to play a role in that.
[00:01:20.952]It's your career, it's your life.
[00:01:23.463]On the flipside, a mentor
[00:01:25.939]should not be expected to play that role.
[00:01:29.602]They can help guide, as Donna said,
[00:01:32.377]and, again, we'll talk a little bit in a few minutes
[00:01:35.529]about the differences between mentors, coaches, sponsors.
[00:01:40.629]But sometimes a mentor can play all three of those roles.
[00:01:45.361]Peer-to-peer mentoring and networking
[00:01:47.557]helps you to let go of what you should or should not do,
[00:01:51.011]what you want and don't want.
[00:01:53.378]These are some of the things that are discussed oftentimes
[00:01:56.892]in mentoring relationships.
[00:01:58.653]It can provide positive reinforcement
[00:02:01.710]for the things that you are doing
[00:02:03.690]or the changes that you're contemplating.
[00:02:06.171]So, oftentimes with peers,
[00:02:08.554]you'll talk about career changes,
[00:02:11.512]changes, perhaps, in your scientific discipline,
[00:02:15.923]changes that you're thinking of making,
[00:02:17.932]but you want someone as a sounding board
[00:02:19.833]to reflect back on what you're saying.
[00:02:22.808]And then, transitional goals that are similar to yours.
[00:02:25.455]So for those of you in the room
[00:02:27.243]that are at the same level,
[00:02:30.088]your next phase in your career,
[00:02:32.267]oftentimes you're facing the same dilemmas,
[00:02:34.772]you have the same questions,
[00:02:36.171]you're grappling with the same issues,
[00:02:38.510]so you'll be talking about that
[00:02:40.667]and using each other to help provide guidance and support.
[00:02:44.539]Or, if you're senior faculty of my age,
[00:02:47.444]you're grappling with the new technologies,
[00:02:50.164]And the new social networking.
And you're sort of
[00:02:52.260]brainstorming on how you're gonna deal with it.
[00:02:54.675]Or, as you've often said, Donna, too,
[00:02:56.333]that that next phase in your career...
[00:02:58.695]I love it when Donna says she's retired.
[00:03:00.213]She's really not retired.
[00:03:01.194]Don't listen to her.
[00:03:02.166]She actually has another career.
[00:03:05.470]It's volunteer, but she is just as active
[00:03:08.433]as some people in the workforce, so.
[00:03:10.267]She says she's retired, but she's really not.
[00:03:12.331]So, when you're looking at, you're at a certain age,
[00:03:14.926]and what's that next step, what's that next phase?
[00:03:17.660]Oftentimes, those types of discussions
[00:03:19.901]are very, very, very helpful.
[00:03:27.477]is done with strategic purpose.
[00:03:30.248]I like this.
[00:03:31.081]I read this article, and it was a wonderful article,
[00:03:34.010]and it was talking about...
[00:03:36.579]Written by someone who is in a very senior leadership role,
[00:03:39.423]and they said that when they go to an event,
[00:03:42.102]they're very strategic in what they want to accomplish.
[00:03:45.556]They don't just walk into an event and say,
[00:03:47.045]"Nah, I'll just have some food and drinks,
[00:03:49.663]"and then I'm going."
[00:03:50.887]I'm gonna go to this event,
[00:03:51.947]I'm gonna meet three people that I don't know.
[00:03:54.054]I want to get, from one of those people,
[00:03:57.360]I want to establish a relationship with that person.
[00:04:01.136]That's my goal, that's my objective,
[00:04:03.136]I'm gonna be very strategic in how I accomplish that.
[00:04:05.995]I'm gonna meet a number of people,
[00:04:07.696]but out of that networking event,
[00:04:10.825]this is what I want to accomplish.
[00:04:13.094]It can open doors.
[00:04:14.229]You never know who you're going to talk to,
[00:04:16.121]who knows who, who knows who, who knows who.
[00:04:20.327]Networking, when it's done well, can be great for that.
[00:04:25.467]It can be used to establish mentoring relationships.
[00:04:27.917]So when you're at a networking event,
[00:04:29.824]and you're looking for a mentor,
[00:04:32.051]you don't go up to someone and say,
[00:04:33.371]"Hi, my name is Cindy, will you be my mentor?"
[00:04:36.553]But it establishes a relationship that then you can carry on
[00:04:40.108]in an informal way to begin with,
[00:04:42.407]to see if
[00:04:44.308]there is a fit.
[00:04:47.130]And, based upon subsequent discussions
[00:04:49.405]and dialogue that you have,
[00:04:51.266]that person may or may not turn out to be a mentor.
[00:04:54.659]And they actually may turn out to be a mentor
[00:04:56.531]and they don't even know it.
[00:04:57.657]Because you've never even brought up the word mentor.
[00:05:00.265]You go in and you say,
[00:05:01.184]I'd like to have a five-minute conversation,
[00:05:04.167]kinda ask a couple of questions,
[00:05:06.465]and then you establish that relationship.
[00:05:08.672]And then it turns into something more,
[00:05:12.265]but you've never really brought up the term mentoring.
[00:05:15.136]By the way, I did want to say that while I was here,
[00:05:19.152]I looked at your brochure, because I'm a curious person.
[00:05:22.000]I prefer to think of myself as curious and not nosy.
[00:05:25.109]But, in here, there was this thing
[00:05:27.204]about Cedar Point Biological Station,
[00:05:29.375]and they were talking about the summer sessions,
[00:05:31.674]and why should you attend one of these sessions,
[00:05:35.279]and it said in here, build a personal relationship
[00:05:38.805]with your instructors, i.e. think reference letters.
[00:05:43.984]And I thought that was brilliant,
[00:05:45.207]because how many people would think that,
[00:05:46.857]just going to a summer session,
[00:05:48.602]that this is an opportunity
[00:05:50.538]to network in a very strategic way
[00:05:54.561]by building relationships that can come back
[00:05:58.683]to help you down the road.
[00:06:01.304]So, I'm not saying that you should all go to this,
[00:06:03.295]but I thought that that was a really nice way
[00:06:07.683]of underscoring how attending
[00:06:11.387]even summer sessions
[00:06:12.960]can be beneficial with your networking.
[00:06:22.094]So, we're gonna talk very briefly
[00:06:24.193]about the difference between mentors,
[00:06:26.640]advisors, coaches, and sponsors.
[00:06:28.544]A mentor, we've already covered it.
[00:06:30.799]You know what a mentor is.
[00:06:32.596]We've discussed it.
[00:06:34.079]Someone who guides, protects, and promotes.
[00:06:37.339]An advisor is someone who offers advice.
[00:06:41.501]And oftentimes, as was pointed out earlier,
[00:06:48.652]and oftentimes is not the best person to serve as a mentor.
[00:06:54.063]So, I know for many, many universities,
[00:06:57.540]they have a structure in place.
[00:07:00.007]That's why we always recommend,
[00:07:01.847]and Donna mentioned this, to get multiple mentors.
[00:07:06.473]An advisor could serve as a mentor,
[00:07:09.260]but the best relationships involve multiple mentors.
[00:07:14.279]A coach helps with specific skills.
[00:07:16.948]So, for example,
[00:07:18.644]if I were going to be a professional speaker,
[00:07:22.162]I am, quasi, but if I'm going out on my own
[00:07:24.620]and I was going to actually earn a living for me,
[00:07:27.731]not on behalf of AWIS,
[00:07:29.586]I may want some additional coaching
[00:07:32.930]in terms of my style
[00:07:34.991]to make sure that I was communicating effectively.
[00:07:40.011]And then, a sponsor advocates
[00:07:42.555]and provides tactical support for advancement.
[00:07:45.701]Generally, behind the scenes,
[00:07:47.245]and oftentimes without your being aware.
[00:07:50.265]So, a sponsor is someone who will say,
[00:07:53.988]I know this person's looking for a position,
[00:07:56.461]and I have a friend at another university,
[00:07:58.423]and it turns out that they're looking for a faculty...
[00:08:02.060]They're looking to hire
[00:08:07.034]and I'm going to recommend this person
[00:08:11.676]Talk this person up.
[00:08:13.613]A mentor can serve as a sponsor,
[00:08:16.659]and often does, but a sponsor can be a separate
[00:08:20.566]individual that is aware of your abilities
[00:08:23.968]but doesn't serve as a mentor.
[00:08:25.732]And most often, you find that more in industry
[00:08:28.299]than you do in academia, but it can hold true in both.
[00:08:36.277]A supervisor, on the other hand, is a boss,
[00:08:39.032]and oftentimes does serve
[00:08:41.899]as a mentor,
[00:08:44.005]but the boss' and the supervisor's allegiance
[00:08:47.657]is to the employer,
[00:08:50.764]not necessarily to the person they're mentoring.
[00:08:54.737]Again, more important in corporate setting.
[00:09:00.702]We've underscored here an important point,
[00:09:02.440]is that a mentor is not by definition the Ph.D advisor
[00:09:05.830]or postdoctoral or fellowship supervisor,
[00:09:08.803]although, again, as I mentioned,
[00:09:09.848]many of these individuals serve as mentors.
[00:09:13.348]And they're very good mentors.
[00:09:15.898]But to think about your boss
[00:09:19.056]as a mentor,
[00:09:21.076]again, that's why it's really a good idea
[00:09:23.892]to look for multiple mentors
[00:09:25.651]so that you can have different people fill in
[00:09:28.626]and address the different skills that you need
[00:09:31.078]in order to develop.
[00:09:34.534]And mentoring and sponsorship are not cloning.
[00:09:37.072]As we mentioned earlier, we talked about that,
[00:09:39.429]you don't want mini-mes.
[00:09:40.633]You don't want to crank out mini-mes.
[00:09:43.380]And I'm gonna have Donna address the last session here,
[00:09:47.789]and the next section, and we'll wrap this up.
[00:09:51.488]One of the things about, that point about
[00:09:57.855]glass ceilings and sticky floors,
[00:09:59.941]one of the things that a mentoring role
[00:10:02.022]or people that are working with mentees can help you do
[00:10:06.931]is figure out sometimes if there are things that
[00:10:11.082]you really can't do anything about.
[00:10:13.146]That's sort of the Plexiglass ceiling thing,
[00:10:15.941]is that I can't do anything about that ceiling
[00:10:19.418]that's right above me right now.
[00:10:20.640]I don't have the tools to do anything
[00:10:22.399]other than look at it.
[00:10:23.810]But if my feet happen to be sticking to the floor
[00:10:26.431]because I had too much sticky dessert at the break,
[00:10:31.319]I can reach down and lift my feet and move.
[00:10:33.934]So it's kind of my overblown analogy
[00:10:36.386]of helping our mentees figure out things they can change
[00:10:40.206]and things they can't.
[00:10:41.265]You know, things that are beyond their control
[00:10:43.262]at the moment.
[00:10:44.183]Again, that's part of helping them be strategic
[00:10:46.896]in what they choose to do.
[00:10:49.869]We talked about the inside rules.
[00:10:52.345]Culture eats strategy for lunch.
[00:10:54.567]And, you know, no matter what your strategy is
[00:10:56.535]for doing something,
[00:10:57.999]it may be the best strategy in the world,
[00:10:59.916]but the culture of the place
[00:11:01.527]or the culture of the discipline may make any...
[00:11:05.462]Your strategies of dealing with it are more difficult.
[00:11:08.192]I think that's where sometimes mentoring
[00:11:11.527]in the discipline that you're trained in,
[00:11:14.996]if you know that discipline too,
[00:11:17.224]can help people navigate in that.
[00:11:20.804]The only professional discipline
[00:11:22.287]I have much to do with right now
[00:11:24.458]is the American Chemical Society,
[00:11:26.182]and I just came from the
[00:11:30.185]it was in Philadelphia,
[00:11:31.209]where I do a lot of resume reviews and mock interviews.
[00:11:34.118]So I know the culture of chemistry really well,
[00:11:37.200]and that just happens to be a good venue
[00:11:38.940]where I can help young people navigate chemistry.
[00:11:42.449]I couldn't do it for physics or math or other areas.
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