The Executive Women in Government Mentoring Program is now in its second year and is designed to improve and increase women’s relevance, impact, opportunities, and recognition in the federal government. Twenty-four EWG members agreed to mentor protégés from various government agencies (DHS, NASA, Department of State, and DOD, to name a few) who are interested in moving into a senior executive position.
Twenty-six protégés were matched with senior executive mentors and agreed to commit 1-2 hours per month in mentoring conversations. The mentoring partnerships kicked off their mentoring journey with a Dynamic Mentoring Connections Workshop that was held at the Women’s Memorial. This gave the participants the tools they needed to engage in successful mentoring relationships. The Dynamic Mentoring Orientation also set the process in motion for protégés to take charge of their careers and guided the mentors in creating a climate where protégés take responsibility for their career growth and development.
Protégés then worked with their mentors to develop their Mentoring Action Plans and Mentoring Agreements. These blueprints outlined the goals and activities the protégés would embark upon to help them to get to the next level of their career and defined the parameters of their mentoring relationships. In the Mentoring Action Plan, protégés worked with their mentors to identify the learning goals and activities they would undertake during the program. Protégés were encouraged to draft SES KSAs, lead cross-functional teams, shadow an SES from another agency, conduct informational and mock interviews, present at a conference and plan and organize a Town Hall meeting.
Many of the protégés have benefited from the program as evidenced by the following comments:
“My mentor helped me be more assertive at work. Her advice helped me understand the extent of my own abilities and skills to pursue more challenging opportunities.”
“Gained confidence, insight into leadership and some degree of organizational savvy.”
“I believe my biggest gain has been an increase in confidence deriving from an improved understanding of the Federal system and deeper insights into personal motivations in the workplace. I believe I have acquired additional skills in “managing up” and I feel better equipped to deal with change at our agency and have a better context for understanding the behaviors of others as we shift to new leadership. This is tremendously valuable to me, and I don’t think I could have acquired it through any means more effective than a mentoring relationship.”
The mentors experienced the reward of helping their protégés develop professionally and also learned from the program:
“I gained a renewed appreciation of the many challenges that young women are facing and how social media is such a dominate tool in their lives. I also understood the need for young women to be able to talk with a non-biased person about their aspirations and bringing balance to their work and home life.”
“As a mentor, I have received many benefits through my participation in the mentoring program. It has been very rewarding to see my protégés gain confidence by tapping into the abilities they always possessed. I believe both have developed personally and professionally by their involvement in the program.”
“I really appreciated the opportunity to learn from my protégé. It has helped me to also learn how to be a better manager and a leader.”
The EWG Mentoring Program will continue to support the partnerships with various training sessions and energizers to help the pairs stay on track. Sessions will include the following Brown Bag Forums: What is an SES all about?, SES Panel Discussion, Generational Differences Discussion, Balancing Career and Home, ECQ Resume Review, and a Mock Interview.