1) What is the WiA Mentoring Program?
The WiA Mentoring Program is the latest addition to the DAA's services to support female members’ professional development needs. It is an online tool that facilitates the establishment of mentoring relationships. It is user-driven, allowing enrolled mentees to search among enrolled mentors using specified criteria to find individuals whose experience match areas in which they wish to be mentored. Likewise, mentors can search for and identify potential mentees. Mentees will be the owners of the relationship and should schedule each meeting with the mentor and be prepared for each meeting by creating an agenda of topics to cover with a clear goal in mind they wish to achieve through the relationship. Be sure to review the Resource Library
to assist both mentees and mentors through the program. 2) Why can only women enroll as mentees?
The WiA Mentoring Program was an idea that came from WiA members. Volunteers of the WiA community championed the program and put the details and guidelines of the program together. Limiting participation as a mentee to only women is the next step in a successful DAA Mentoring Program; after a small pilot of the WiA Mentoring Program proved successful in 2017, we are opening the program up to a larger group of members, and will continue to tweak the program during 2018 so that it will be able to successfully sustain the volume of being opened up to all members in the future. At that time, men will be welcome and encouraged to join as mentees. Both men and women are encouraged to participate in the program now as mentors. 3) Is there a fee associated with enrolling in the WiA Mentoring Program?
This program is a benefit of membership and is available only to DAA members. There is no extra charge to participate in this program.4) How much time do I need to commit to the mentoring relationship?
DAA highly recommends that you plan to work with your mentor for a six-month long formal relationship and to meet at least a total of six hours within that time. The most important thing is to discuss your mutual expectations about time and communication at the start of your relationship. Keep in mind that mentoring doesn’t necessarily require large amounts of your time. Even brief phone calls or email exchanges with you can benefit both participants.
5) How are mentors and mentees matched?
Members must first enroll as a mentor, mentee or both. During the enrollment process, members will select preferences for various demographics (including career stage, area of expertise, communication preference, etc.) to establish their personal criteria. These criteria will also be the options available when searching for a mentor or mentee. Choose specific and fitting criteria when searching to find your best match. 6) What are the expectations of participants in this program?
- The mentee will manage the relationship by managing meeting times and an agenda for each meeting. It is best for meetings to be at a consistent time that can be confirmed early on for the duration of the program for greatest success.
- The mentee’s goals should be meaningful to both parties.
- Mentees should think about what they can offer to the mentor or how the mentor will also benefit from the relationship.
- Mentors benefit from the relationship by practicing leadership skills, gaining a new connection, and likely learning something new from their mentee. Mentors are welcome to ask their mentee questions if they find an area they are interested in exploring further in which the mentee holds expertise.
- If you receive a mentoring request but decide to decline, there are no hard feelings and no repercussions for doing so. Also, if a relationship is not working out, either party may abandon the relationship at either time, DAA simply asks that you be open and communicate this choice with your partner.
7) How can I meet with my mentor/mentee?
It is up to you and your mentor or mentee to decide how, when, and where you want to pursue your mentoring relationship. It is likely that most of your communication will occur by phone or electronically via email or video call. You should consider setting up in-person meetings if you are located near each other or are able to attend the same event.
8) How do I end a mentoring relationship?
If you've completed the six month mentoring relationship, go to the My Mentoring Relationships page and click on "Finish Relationship." This will open your availability to be able to take on a new mentee/mentor in the program if you had previously been at your maximum number of mentees. Mentees can use this resource to learn how to successfully end the relationship. There is no limit to the number of times an individual can participate, the only limitation is that mentees match with one mentor at a time.
If the mentoring relationship isn't working out, please kindly discuss your decision to end the relationship with your mentee or mentor. Go to the My Mentoring Relationships page and mark the relationship as “Abandoned.” Being sure to mark your relationships as finished or abandoned helps DAA keep track of mentoring relationships and gauge success of the program. When you end a relationship, you will receive a request to complete a survey. The information you share will also help DAA gauge the success of the program and determine where to make improvements.
9) How do I become a mentor?
Any DAA member can enroll as a mentor
. You will be instructed to choose your preferences for various demographics and also to complete your member profile.10) Who are the mentees?
Mentees are women who are looking for help to support their professional development.11) Can I have more than one mentee?
While there is no limit to the number of mentoring relationships you can establish, we recommend that you be judicious in selecting only mentees who are most suited to learn from your expertise and experience. DAA highly recommends limiting your number of mentees to two. You can limit the number of mentee requests you are willing to accept on the mentor enrollment page. 12) How do I find and request a mentee?
13) How will I know if a mentee has selected me as their mentor?
- After enrolling as a mentor, go the Find a Mentee page and select the criteria you want to use for your mentee search.
- Click on the mentees' names to view their profiles.
- Once you have found a good match, click on the "Send Mentee Request" button in their profile to send the mentee an email request.
- You will be able to write a message to go along with the request for the mentee
- An email will be sent to the mentee alerting them that they have been requested to be your mentee. The mentee will be able to accept or respectfully decline the request. You will be notified when the mentee accepts or declines your request.
You will receive an email from the mentee requesting you to be their mentor. You will be prompted to accept or decline the request on the My Mentoring Relationships
page. If you have any trouble receiving messages from the WiA Mentoring Program or DAA Community, please reach out to DAA. 14) What benefits do I receive if I participate as a mentor in this program?
- A ribbon identifying you as a mentor to your peers on your DAA Community profile.
- Previous mentors have shared positive feedback on being able to help a fellow member and that they also learned new skills from the mentoring relationship, such as leadership, active listening, and hard skills that they were able to learn from their mentee.
- Share your experience on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
15) Is it okay to decline a request?
Yes, but there should be a good reason to do so. We encourage you to at least have an initial conversation to explore whether the relationship would be mutually fulfilling. If a potential mentee has misinterpreted information in your profile, you may find her to be an inappropriate match. If you want to decline a request, go to the My Mentoring Relationships
page and check the “decline” button next to the specific request.16) What if I’m going to be on vacation or unavailable for a period of time?
Go to the Enroll as a Mentor
page, scroll down to find the “Mentor Status” section then click on the check-box below “Temporarily Not Participating.” Doing this will indicate that you are not accepting any mentee requests at the moment, and your mentoring profile will not be included in a mentee’s search for a mentor. It is your responsibility to communicate your availability to your existing mentees.
17) What are the expectations for participating mentors?
18) What do I do if I am not the best person to assist with my mentees questions?
- You will fulfill your commitment to develop at least one mentoring relationship, which should be six months in length with regular communications with your mentee(s).
- You will respond to initial requests from mentees in a timely manner, and you communicate with your mentee(s) as agreed upon by both you and your mentee(s).
- Mentors are welcome to ask their mentee questions if they find an area they are interested in exploring further in which the mentee holds expertise.
- If your mentee becomes unresponsive to your messages, please contact the program administrator and let them know of the issue. The administrator will speak with the mentee and work to determine if the best option is to continue the mentoring relationship or abandon it and allow you to match with a new mentee.
It is expected that situations like this will arise - the mentor is not expected to have an answer for everything. The mentor and mentee should think through the situation together, brainstorming resources rather than the mentor giving direct answers to questions or situations the mentee is dealing with. There is value in having an external and safe sounding board. As a mentor, we often think our role is to have all the answers for our mentees. However, this may not always be the case and that’s acceptable. Mentors are not expected to always have an answer. If you find yourself in this situation, be honest with your mentee and let them know that you’ve not experienced the situation or question they've brought up. 19) How should I prepare for the last meeting with a mentee?
The mentee should formally wrap up the engagement, but you should also spend a little time preparing final thoughts or recommendations. The mentee may ask if you would be willing to continue the relationship - possibly in a less formal manner, outside the mentoring program. Your willingness to do this is entirely up to you and is not expected. As a rule, if you find yourself looking forward to your meetings, and if you feel you are benefiting from the relationship, then you may want to accept an invitation to continue the relationship. However, there is nothing wrong with saying, “no.” Mentees are aware that the program is an investment of your time and effort, and that both are valuable. Please be conscious of your time, if you choose to continue an informal relationship, will it reduce your availability for the official mentoring program and your ability to take on a new mentee? We understand you are volunteering your time and you may change your availability as a mentor at any time in your Mentor Profile via the Edit Mentor Status button.
20) How do I become a mentee?
If you are a woman and a DAA member, click to Enroll as a Mentee
. You will be instructed to choose your preferences for various demographics and also to complete your member profile.21) What are the expectations for participating mentees?
- You will fulfill your commitment to complete at least one mentoring relationship, which should be six months in length with regular communications with your mentor.
- You will respond to your mentor in a timely manner, and communicate with your mentor as agreed upon by both you and your mentor early in the relationship.
- During the formal relationship, the mentee will manage the relationship by setting meeting times, meeting agendas, and your goals to work toward during the relationship.
- Your goals should be meaningful to both you and your mentor.
- Think about what you can offer to the mentor and how the mentor will also benefit from the relationship.
22) Who are the mentors?
Mentors are other DAA members who have volunteered their time to support WiA members' professional development and advancement.23) Can I have more than one mentor?
No, each mentee may have one mentor at a time. While there is no limit to the number of times you can participate as a mentee, we recommend that you be judicious in selecting only mentors who are most suited to your mentoring needs and goals. Please keep in mind that mentors have limited time to offer and may have other mentoring relationships. 24) How do I find and request a mentor?
25) How do I choose a suitable mentor?
- After enrolling as a mentee, go the the Find a Mentor page and select the criteria you want to use for your mentor search.
- Click on the mentors' names to view their profiles.
- Once you have found a good match, click on the "Send Mentor Request" button in their profile to send them an email request.
- You will be able to write a message to go along with the request for the mentor - this is a good place to express why you are requesting this person as your mentor.
- An email will be sent to the mentor alerting them that they have been requested to be your mentor. The mentor will be able to accept or respectfully decline the request. You will be notified when the mentor accepts or declines your request.
26) Are there resources to help me schedule meetings with my mentor?
- First, do some self-discovery to identify what it is you want to achieve from the mentorship. Identify specific gaps in your skill set and define goals that you want to achieve through the mentor program. Contemplate where you think you could most benefit from some guidance and collaboration.
- Search for a mentor who has expertise in the areas of the goals you have defined. Prepare specific questions to help you determine whether the mentor you’ve selected is going to be the right fit. Ask yourself if the mentor can guide you toward your professional goals based on what you learn about them from their mentor profile.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to end a relationship early if it is not meeting your needs and goals.
- When thinking about what you want to learn from a mentor, think more from a strategic perspective than from a tactical standpoint. For example, “how can this mentor guide me in the direction to gain statistical knowledge?” vs. “how can I learn statistics from my mentor?”
The platform used for this program does not have scheduling or virtual meeting tools available. Try using a scheduling tool such as Calendly
to determine the best times to meet with your mentor. If any meetings need to be rescheduled, communicate with your mentor as early as possible and do not to skip meetings. 27) What should I do if I don’t hear from the mentor I requested?
It is the responsibility of the mentee to manage the relationship and keep it moving forward. You should contact your mentor by using the contact information found in their profile. If you still do not hear from them, you may request a new mentor. In that case, please contact the program administrator
and let them know the mentor is unresponsive. 28) What if after starting a relationship I learn the mentor isn’t the right “fit” for my needs?
It is a fact that not all mentees will click with their mentor, and not all relationships will be the best fit for both parties. That’s absolutely understandable. You are not locked into your first choice of mentor. Use the first meeting as an opportunity to get to know your mentor’s background and skills. Before choosing a mentor, you should have a clear goal in mind to strive for through your mentorship. Clearly communicate your goals and needs for the relationship early. Be honest about what you’re looking to get out of the program so that you both can determine early on whether the relationship is a good fit or not. If you find that the mentor is not a good fit, kindly let them know as soon as possible and go to My Mentoring Relationships and mark the relationship as "Abandoned."
Here are a few ways to communicate to the mentor you will not be moving forward with the relationship:
“Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I think your skill set is valuable, however, I’m not sure our goals are aligned.”
“I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me. After some initial thought, I don’t think our goals are aligned and I would like to request a different mentor.”
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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