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Real world, Virtual world….Where in the World Have I been Mentoring?



It's been a year since I last showed up on my virtual world here - a year of much increased individual mentoring.

Right after my last blog post here, I was pleased to be selected as a mentor for the Aspire Foundation and for the Cherie Blair Foundation - 2 wonderful mentee women, one who was in the midst of a leadership opportunity in the midst of an organizational reorganization and the other an established health business owner who has been working to expand her business (both clients and product offerings), add a stable of employees, and also grow herself as well.

I have also been mentoring public health professionals studying for MPHs at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health – in this past academic year, one just starting her career and the other who is a mid-career professional who is expanding his evaluation skills.

These experiences are all long-term mentoring where we meet together every 2-4 weeks over 6-12 months or longer.

In addition, I have had shorter-term mentoring interactions with 9 other professionals ranging in their professional growth from a new public health researcher who is working while starting her prerequisites for her MPH studies to a woman who is well skilled and with many decades of experience but who wants to move from the domestically-focused work she has been doing leading large research projects into more direct technical work in global development settings.

What are the differences between these 2 groups? Here’s what I’ve seen, admittedly with a limited sample!

Those seeking Long-Term Mentoring are generally looking for career advice and ideas on professional growth areas for focusing. They feel they are at a crossroads and want to talk things through. I’ve also found that they want to develop and build on a long-term plan to move their professional growth to a new level. The regular, ongoing contact provides them with an external connection that keeps them on track with their professional growth plan so they do not get sidetracked by the busy-ness of their lives. Over time in the mentoring sessions, we review the complex threads of their lives as contributors to their moving to the next level. In between the sessions, each mentee and I agree on what the focus for the next period is. And we know when we’re done – when the mentee identifies that they’ve achieved what they had been seeking.

The people I’ve worked with who are in the category of Short-Term Mentoring have targeted, specific questions for immediate information. They need to be able to verbalize their plans and want to bounce ideas off me. They are usually not looking for solving life-plan issues, but are often contemplating making a move. They describe themselves as stuck – and one to a few mentoring sessions help them get moving again.

The commonalities…? That’s the next blog post – and there will be one quite soon.

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