Johnika Dreher, NACADA Emerging Leader
Gayle Juneau, NACADA Mentor
Mentoring is a unique, intentional relationship between two individuals. It can be informal or formal, but it will probably work best if the relationship contains elements of both. It can be hit or miss. Mentoring requires dedication and fortitude to persist and can be a rewarding experience for all involved. There is not just one person learning in a mentoring relationship—both individuals learn and grow. Yet, mentoring is something most people do not intentionally seek out, as it requires timeand focus. And, if the relationship is not formalized, there is the possibility of engaging blindly without accomplishing professional progress. No one should have just one mentor in life. If we recognize that we are multifaceted individuals, we should seek mentors that can help us grow in each area of our lives—physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, educationally and professionally.
The NACADA ELP Matching of Johnika Dreher and Gayle Juneau
From Johnika’s point of view. While I have many mentors in my life, my first intentional mentoring opportunity came throughNACADA’s Emerging Leaders Program(ELP). ELP offered both informal and formal engagement opportunities over three months before we actually met our mentors. To say the “round robin” or “speed mentoring” component was easy would be a lie. I never imagined that speed dating to obtain a mentor could be beneficial, but it was. In less than an hour, I met 10 fantastic academic advising professionals from a myriad of institutions representing the diversity of NACADA. While I had some idea of whom I liked initially--from the informal writings posted on our ELP website--nothing prepared me for the one on one engagement with each selected ELP mentor.
In each 10-minute conversation with the mentors, I asked questions to truly gauge their backgrounds, trying to seek knowledge and understanding of their personality, academic pursuits, and interests and contrasting their responses with my pursuits. I shared my goals and interests in ELP, including that I want to study abroad and complete my dissertation on technology in advising. Additionally, I thought it was important to disclose that I am interested in progressing in the field of academic advising; and I’m unconventional in all senses of the word. Because I like to live outside of the box, I needed a mentor who could guide me through the unknowns of higher education while being 100 percent authentic and relatable. I found that person in Gayle Juneau, Director of Academic Advising at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. From the moment I sat down, it was like we were destined to be together. Her presence preceded herself. Her demeanor is calm, yet she matched every ounce of excitement I exuded. While she did not have a background in study abroad or advising technology, she was aware and fluent regarding both and had plenty of contacts, Additionally, she had her doctoral degree. Instantly, I felt a connection with her unlike any other mentor I had previously interviewed. I was and still am enthusiastic about working with her, being a protégé and reaching each of our five agreed upon goals. Until the next edition, I look forward to sharing more about our developing relationship. In the interim, get yourself a mentor!
From Gayle’s point of view. I whole-heartedly agree with Johnika. Our connection to each other was immediate and it happened as soon as a couple of words had been exchanged – even before we genuinely “knew” anything about each other. So, there is definitely something to be said for the organic element of matching mentor to mentee by way of the ethereal qualities of human connections. In extending beyond this aspect, our collective sense is that a certain level of formalized preparedness on the part of the individual mentors and mentees might build a foundation from which to make it easier to select a mentor/mentee within and outside of the NACADA ELP Program. We recommend the following advance preparation for seeking out a mentor or a mentee relationship in your professional career:
- Do you possess a solid career of leadership positions in the field of academic advising? If so, is it time to consider giving back to the community and being a mentor?
- Do you participate in conversations with advisors about their career goals? Ask about their dreams and think through formal and informal ways in which you can assist them in accomplishing them?
- How much time and in what capacity can you work with academic advisors on conversations about goals? On mentoring them to develop their strengths and accomplish new skills?
- Create a list of your strengths, interests, and skills for a conversation about finding a mentee.
- Create a list of characteristics you hope a mentee will possess.
- What are your short-term and long-term goals in the field of academic advising?
- What are your professional strengths?
- What are professional skills you hope to gain?
- Create a list of your strengths, interests, and skills for a conversation about finding a mentor.
- Create a list of characteristics you hope a mentor will possess.
- How much time and in what capacity can you work with a mentor on a conversation about your goals?
Learn more about the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program.
Prince George’s Community College
Executive Director of Academic Advising
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Cite this article using APA style as: Dreher, J. & Juneau, G. (2012, June). Mentoring: Personal thoughts on the value of advance preparation. Academic Advising Today, 35(2). Retrieved from [insert url here]