On January 21, 2021, SEAONC SE3 held an event marking the mid-year point of the 2020-2021 long-term mentorship program year. This casual event allowed participants to meet others in the mentorship program and discuss strategies to make the most of the mentorship opportunities. Altogether, 39 participants from 24 out of 29 groups attended. Mentorship task group co-leads Alan Puah and Steve Earl kicked off the event with introductions. Then, Steve and program participants Allison DiGregio, Stefanie Rae Arizabal, and Jim Malley shared unique insights about their individual group dynamics and successes. Jim also provided perspectives on mentorship in general and its relation to SEAONC history.
Attendees then met in breakout rooms and discussed a variety of topics, ranging from what they are enjoying about the program, to tips on successful group discussions. Participants mentioned appreciating the mentorship program because it gave space to connect with other engineers outside their firm during this work-from-home period and it was refreshing to have an outside perspective.
Some of the common mentorship group tips discussed were:
Scheduling meetings: Groups have found that setting a consistent time works; for example, 1st Wednesday of the month. Participants also thought that afternoon or evening meetings tend to work better, as lunch meeting times fill up fast.
Setting a meeting topic ahead of time: For the most part, participants thought they had better discussions if there was a topic chosen ahead of time. Some groups send out articles or other resources ahead of the meeting, while others have participants come to the meeting with questions in mind, and the conversation ends up being more free-flowing.
Group organization: Groups have had success with assigning roles for each meeting that rotate through the group. Some examples are: a leader or facilitator (sets the agenda) and a note-taker (responsible for sending out minutes). Several groups have started running Google Docs that have meeting notes, topics, and resources linked for the group to read
Big thanks to Giuliana Tragitt of the SEAONC office for making Zoom logistics run smoothly, and committee members Qiudi Du and Brenna Marcoux, and Chair Tiffany Hwang for their behind-the-scenes work making the event possible. SEAONC SE3 hopes the mentorship program continues to benefit all those involved.