Posted on May 20, 2018
Role models and mentors exert great power and unleash great dreams. This program discusses research about mentorship and provides tips and advice about the mentor-mentee relationship. 

This Week’s Meeting

Week beginning May 20, 2018

Presiding today is Diana Martinelli, President

Ding! We’re now in session.

Welcome all – Visitors, fellow Rotarians and guests alike to the E-Club meeting for the week of May 20, 2018!

Remember the smiling pot. Donations to our E-Club help support our service projects.

We’d like to respectfully remind all visitors that if they would like to contribute the normal cost of a meal for your makeup, we would be grateful. These funds go directly to support service projects locally and around the world. You can make a contribution in the Donation box on your left. Or you can write a check to:  Rotary E-Club of District 7530 and mail it to Treasurer MSRE, 213 Crosswinds Dr., Fairmont, WV 26554.

Four-Way Test

At the beginning of each meeting we remind ourselves of the The Four-Way Test.  Therefore, please remember to ask yourself always . . .

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

A Reflective Moment

“Find someone who has a life that you want and figure out how they got it. Read books, pick your role models wisely. Find out what they did and do it.” 
― Singer, songwriter Lana Del Rey

Light Moments from graduation speeches

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary." --Vidal Sassoon

"The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places."  --Unknown

"The unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing about your life, is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective."  --Jon Stewart

"Worry is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere."  --Erma Bombeck

"Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself."  --Mark A. Cooper

The Power of Role Models and Mentorship: Research findings and advice

In watching the royal wedding last weekend, a commentator mentioned how Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, stated that she wanted to be a role model. In her journey from a struggling bi-racial actress of divorced parents to television star, social activist and English royalty, no doubt she already serves as a model for countless others around the world and is already unleashing great dreams in them.
In thinking of that, it reminded me of how proud I am of our E-Club’s newest members, college students Wrenna and Katie, and their work as role models and mentors to younger students through the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program. (They presented about some of this work at our Rotary District Conference last month, and I’ve asked Wrenna to share more about RYLA with our Club in one of next month’s programs.)
There is no doubt great power in mentoring and being mentored, and Wrenna and Katie are already wielding it, influencing and encouraging others to pursue their dreams to make a difference. An article in The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring named famous mentor/mentee relationships that have influenced history (Rhodes, 2015). Among the 25 pairs were Maya Angelou/Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs/ Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett/Bill Gates, Ray Charles/Quincy Jones, and Ralph Waldo Emerson/David Thoreau.
Studies show that even highly successful people—like those named above—crave and value mentors from whom they can continue to grow and learn. (See a short TedX video clip hosted by Bill Gates on this subject!) Some people even maintain what they consider to be their own personal and professional advisory board, on whom they call for different aspects of their lives.
Indeed, mentoring is a word that is often bandied about, as organizations work to attract and retain young talent. A recent Harvard Business Review article reports, “Research on junior to midlevel professionals shows that [mentorship] programs enable them to advance more quickly, earn higher salaries, and gain more satisfaction in their jobs and lives than people without mentors do. For employers, the benefits are not only higher performance but also greater success in attracting, developing, and retaining talent” (de Janasz and Peiperl, 2015, p. 101).   
But remember, mentors are not there to necessarily give you the answers to situations: the best mentors ask lots of pertinent questions to help guide you to your own solutions. And they’re also not there to sugarcoat or defend you. Mentor feedback is not meant to be personal and it’s not meant to be critical—it provides additional insight and constructive observations and conversations to help you grow.
Regardless, mentoring is a distinct human experience. Similar to leader-follower relationships that imply “raising one another to higher levels of morality and motivation” (Burns, 1978, p. 20), mentoring relationships can have a life-long impact on both mentee and mentor. The vitality of mentoring might be explained by individuals’ need to belong (Maslow, 1943) or the desire to develop and maintain positive interpersonal relationships.
It’s important to identify what you seek out of a mentoring relationship and to let your mentor know what you need, but It’s also important to set the parameters of the relationship as well. For example,  how often is the mentor willing to meet? Can you call on him/her at any time, or should you schedule a regular time to talk or ask for an appointment when you want some advice/counsel?
A mentor’s role or description could be one of a role model, teacher, counselor, talent developer, supporter and/or friend, and the process of mentoring may be defined or described as a partnership, relational connection, chain of supportive activities (e.g., coaching, conferencing), power- and resource-based relationship, non-evaluative relationship, and/or mutually beneficial and learning relationship.
The development of interpersonal relationships between the mentor and mentee is deemed as the key to success, as real learning occurs mainly because of the relationship itself and not a particular pedagogy. Ideally, a good mentoring relationship benefits both parties.
if you are the mentee, you may need to be the one to drive the relationship. Often young people feel funny about reaching out to mentors and believe that the mentor should be the driver.  That’s not the case.  This is about YOUR professional growth and development, and you need to be the one to value it and to help nurture that relationship.  If you don’t, your mentor—who is likely an incredibly busy person—may think you don’t value it or care enough about it to put in the effort.
It's also important to know that mentoring relationships can run their course, and it’s ok to end them when they do. And if a relationship isn’t working—for whatever reason—you don’t need to try to stick it out and hope it gets better or try to force it to work.
So how does one begin to seek out a personal or professional mentor? First, you should identify what you need; that is, what are your goals for the relationship?  For example:
  • Do you want a coach who can help you build particular kinds of professional skills, like project management or leading teams?
  • Or do you need someone who can provide you with access to networks or help be a sponsor or advocate for you within the organization? 
  • Or perhaps you seek only to observe and get to know a role model whom you admire and would like to professionally emulate.
  • Sometimes people are just looking for support systems, someone to talk to about going through and managing life’s transitions.
Regardless of the purpose, a number of positive mentoring consequences have been identified in research studies (Roberts, 2000). These include:
  • latent abilities discovered,
  • improved performance,
  • retention of staff,
  • growth in mentee confidence,
  • personal growth of both mentor and mentee,
  • increased awareness of and effectiveness in organizational role,
  • self-actualization, and
  • a resonating phenomenon (i.e., protégés become mentors themselves—much in the way Wrenna and Katie have become through RYLA).
Mentorship Findings and Advice
In both school and workplace mentoring, it is clear that the setting of goals, development of trust, and patience in and commitment to the process are fundamental to success. And regardless of its location or intent—personal, educational or professional—mentoring is largely a future-oriented endeavor, as mentors help mentees build confidence and encourage them to envision future success.
Themes and patterns about mentoring emerge across the academic and popular literature that point to best mentoring practices and key insights, some of which are included below:
Mentoring involves multiple relationships.
Today mentorship is more commonly viewed as a developmental network consisting of multi-level, multi-dyadic relationships both within and outside of the organization  (Higgins & Kram, 2001), and encouraging people to find and engage with mentors across landscapes contributes to a mindset of lifelong learning and growth. Indeed, General Motors CEO Mary Barra espouses using a full mentoring network. “Different people see different aspects of us as we progress in our careers and handle the opportunities and challenges along the way,” she said in Entrepreneur magazine (Entis, 2015).
Mentoring is bidirectional.
Mentoring relationships—reciprocal and collaborative—benefit both mentor and mentee by enhancing psychosocial development and professional growth. Compared to
un-mentored employees, mentored individuals have significantly higher job and career  outcomes.
Formal and informal relationships are valuable.
Informal relationships also allow for learning in all aspects and across all phases of one’s life. However, formal mentoring programs can help ensure that organizational goals and resources are aligned and that assessment takes place to gauge success. In her guide for creating a mentoring culture, Zachary (2005) notes the following specific organizational practices as key: alignment of goals; accountability; effective communication; program value, visibility and demand; multiple mentoring opportunities; education and training; and safety nets.
Formal mentoring should include informal attributes.
Input into the mentorship process increases mentors’ and mentees’ commitment to it. Therefore, organizations should create a sense of voluntary participation.
Interaction frequency is key.
To help facilitate trust and build a relationship, interpersonal interaction is key. In a study of new teachers, sharing information through collaborative problem-solving helped          establish the trust and respect required for positive mentoring relationships (Hudson, 2016).
Perceived similarity is important.
Mentors are more willing to mentor protégés whom they perceive to be similar, and research shows that the relationship for both mentors and mentees is more rewarding and enjoyable. In a study across two academic health centers, shared values was one of five key characteristics of a successful mentoring relationship (Straus, Johnson, Marquez, & Feldman, 2013). Organizations should ensure that prospective mentors and mentees have a chance to socialize prior to the start of mentoring programs to identify common interests and shared values, expectations and goals.
Mentorship facilitates leadership.
In a six-month field experiment, one group participated in a semiformal mentorship program and another group received a group-based leadership education program (Lester,             Hannah, Harms, Vogelgesang, & Avolio 2011). Results showed that the mentored group’s scores on leadership self-efficacy were significantly higher than the education-based group.
E-mentoring can skirt barriers.
E-mentoring, or career and psychological support provided by a mentor through computer-mediated technologies, can be synchronous (electronic chat), asynchronous (email), or both, and can incorporate additional modes as well (e.g., telephone and face-to-face conversations) (Smith-Jentsch, Scielzo, Yarbrough, & Rosopa, 2008).
E-mentoring may also overcome such barriers as:
  • a lack of managerial support, for a mentee can have access to a diverse pool of mentors via the internet, regardless of geographic location or organizational level;
  • individuals’ lack of assertiveness or fear of being misunderstood, which could hamper the initiation of in-person mentoring relations; and
  • flexible or alternative work arrangements, such as compressed work weeks or telecommuting, which may reduce the opportunities for face-to-face meetings (Hamilton & Scandura, 2003).
Involvement spawns future participation.
In determining whom to approach about mentoring programs, organizations might first identify any employees who previously mentored others, were mentored, or both, as they will be more likely to join or help lead the program.
Mentoring’s value should not be overestimated.
Despite the many positive outcomes of mentorship, unrealistic expectations about mentoring can result in failed relationships and can undermine confidence. In addition, mentoring should not be a single strategy, but one of many that persons and organizations employ.
Regardless of whom you’re mentoring—formally or informally—I suspect that you are serving as a role model to others through your service to others. Thank you for your time, energy and efforts: They are being noticed, and they make a difference!
Please feel free to share your goals or thoughts on today's program in our comments section, and thank you for participating in this week’s meeting!
Hamilton, B. A., & Scandura, T. A. (2003). E-mentoring: Implications for organizational learning and development in a wired world. Organizational Dynamics, 31, 388–402.
Higgins, M. C., & Kram, K. E. (2001). Reconceptualizing mentoring at work: A developmental network perspective. The Academy of Management Review, 26(2), 264–288.
Hudson, P. (2016). Forming the mentor-mentee relationship. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership In Learning24(1), 30–43. doi:10.1080/13611267.2016.1163637
Lester P. B., Hannah S. T., Harms P. D., Vogelgesang G. R., & Avolio B. J. (2011). Mentoring impact on leader efficacy development: a field experiment. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 409–429.
Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370–396.
Rhodes, B. J. (2015, September 13). Top 25 mentoring relationships in history. The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring. Retrieved from
Roberts, A. (2000). Mentoring revisited: a phenomenological reading of the literature. Mentoring and Tutoring, 8(2), 145–170.
Smith-Jentsch, K. A., Scielzo, S. A., Yarbrough, C. S. & Rosopa, P. J. (2008). A comparison of face-to-face and electronic peer-mentoring: Interactions with mentor gender. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72(2), 193–206.
Straus, S. E., Johnson, M. O., Marquez, C., & Feldman, M. D. (2013). Characteristics of successful and failed mentoring relationships: A qualitative study across two academic  health centers. Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 88(1), 82–89.
Zachary, L. J. (2005). Creating a mentoring culture: The organization's guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.