AAUW Launches New Online Mentoring Program

April 17, 2013

Have you been hearing all the buzz about mentorship lately? Wondering what it’s all about and if you should pay attention?

Back in January, AAUW celebrated National Mentoring Month with a host of blogs on the topic. A graduate student reflected on her newfound desire to identify an inspirational mentor, having realized how crucial this type of relationship is to her growth and success. A mentoring guru answered questions such as “what is mentoring?” and “how do you choose a mentor?” A young woman wrote about being challenged by her mentor in ways that her family and close friends weren’t able to. Another post discussed the differences between mentors and sponsors, and this one relates the story of an inspiring group of college women who secured a grant to expand their work mentoring seventh-grade girls and confronting bullying in schools.

Help and support crosswordAt AAUW, we believe wholeheartedly in the impact of mentorship. Our experience over the years has demonstrated what the research tells us: Employees who received mentoring were promoted five times more often than people who didn’t have mentors. Additionally, according to research from Sun Microsystems, mentors themselves were six times more likely to be promoted. We also believe in the power of women mentoring other women. When women climbing the career ladder offer a guiding hand to others, we all rise up together.

So, we’ve decided to get serious about our commitment to mentorship for women. AAUW is proud to announce that we have partnered with MentorCloud to launch the pilot of a new mentoring program. MentorCloud is an online platform that allows you to create a profile, self-identify as a mentor or mentee, search among hundreds of stellar women for a good match, and arrange for continued communication that fits your reality and schedule. Still a bit fuzzy on the concept? Think of it as a cross between LinkedIn and online dating — but for mentorship!

Mentorship guru Katy Dickinson says that the best way to access a successful mentorship relationship is through a program that “connects mentors and mentees and guides the relationship within a defined structure. The relationship has a start and end date, which helps both parties feel comfortable about their commitment and the attached expectations. It also prevents any lopsided enthusiasm, since both people have voluntarily joined the program.”

This is exactly what AAUW intends to do with this pilot program: create a semi-structured space for genuine connection driven by participants themselves and tailored to each person’s circumstance. Our pilot will last through August 2013. In the future, we look forward to sharing more about the outcomes. Until then, here’s to women mentoring women!

This post was written by AAUW consultant Pamela O’Leary.

By:   |   April 17, 2013