On Thursday evening, Davidson students and mentors gathered in the Lilly Gallery for the inaugural Career and Leadership Mentoring Initiative, a program created through a partnership between the Chidsey Center for Leadership Development and the Center for Career Development. Over fifty students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, submitted over one hundred applications to potential mentors in the new program. Ultimately forty students were matched with mentors.
The Mentor Initiative was established as a means to connect professionals with students who are interested in a given field; while mentor programs at Davidson have existed in the past, this is the first to feature mentors who live and work outside of the Charlotte area, and who will communicate with students virtually. Julia Baker Jones, Director of the Chidsey Center, noted that the mentor relationship can take a variety of forms, such as role model, friend, or sounding board, and that a mentor relationship can involve more than just career advice. Jones also pointed out the importance of building trust and having a common understanding of goals in order to create a strong mentor relationship.
After talking through several possible scenarios that might arise during the mentoring program, which runs until April, students and mentors were asked to fill out a mentor agreement, in which guidelines of communication and scheduling meetings were established. Local mentor-mentee pairs were then free to spend the remaining time getting to know one another over coffee and desserts, while students matched with out-of-town mentors talked amongst themselves about their mentors and how they plan to make initial contact with them.
Thank you to Julia Baker Jones and Ashley Neff for facilitating the orientation. Be sure to continue to check the blog for updates about mentor pairs!