How to Talk about Mentoring

Want to talk about mentorship at your next meeting, or bring it up in a conversation? Here are some AAUW resources and sample questions to help guide your discussions, from being a good mentee to finding mentor-themed programs. Choose from some or all of the suggestions below as conversation topics or icebreakers at your next meeting, or for your own self-reflection.

  • Early Career Mentoring Relationships
    Mentors helped Kelly Kay find her career path and provided professional support. Did you have a mentor early in your career that had an impact on your professional choices? How have mentors shaped your professional trajectory? Is there one mentor in particular that had a profound impact on your life? Why do you think that was? What advice did your college advisers or first mentors give to you? Not everyone starts college or their career with a mentor. Have you or someone you know ever been unsure of how to build a mentor-mentee relationship? Where did you start looking?
  • The Role of a Mentee
    Mentoring guru Katy Dickinson suggests five ways to be a good mentee. After reading through her list, are there other suggestions you have for mentees? When you think back on past mentor-mentee relationships, can you remember a time when you didn’t follow this advice?
  • Peer Mentoring
    Mentor relationships aren’t always a top-to-bottom relationship. Peer mentoring, a form of mentorship, can help someone learn from a peer who has already been through a certain type of experience. Have you had a peer mentor relationship before? What did it look like?
  • Programming Related to Mentoring
    Many AAUW alumnae, grant recipients, programs, and branches support mentoring relationships. What does your branch or student organization do to support mentoring relationships? If you could create an ideal mentoring program, what would it look like?

Remember, January is National Mentoring Month, but mentorship happens throughout the year! To get started, consider what questions would be of most interest to your branch or student organization members. Instead of including all of the questions, consider placing a focus on two to three and allowing the discussion to naturally flow. At the end of your meeting, be sure to send us a note about how it went at