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National Mentoring Month

Mentoring is a two-way street. There are times in all our careers when we need help and guidance from a colleague or friend. And, we can learn as much from those we mentor as we can from those who advise us.

January is National Mentoring Month. Since 2010, the President has called on us to set aside time to communicate how mentoring can help us give back, support each other, and develop a world-class Federal workforce.

The Administration believes in mentoring. The President launched My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative that focuses on helping our youth, including through mentorship relationships. The First Lady leads the “Reach Higher” initiative that encourages campus groups and college students to connect with high school students who need role models who can help them envision a college degree.

At OPM, we are helping agencies and employees across government encourage and institute ways to match mentors and mentees and learn more about the value of mentoring.

Since last summer, we have been piloting a government-wide mentoring hub that brings together mentors and mentees. We plan to launch this program across government later this year. We have also developed the SES Situational Mentoring Program to help senior executives deal with specific challenges or opportunities. In cooperation with agencies across government, OPM is also taking the lead on the Executive Women in Motion initiative where SES members serve as mentors in an effort to encourage more women to join the executive ranks.

Agencies across government also have designed their own mentoring programs. In addition to helping mentors and mentees connect, at OPM we are celebrating mentoring month by holding a Mentor Shadowing Day, situational mentoring roundtables, and speed mentoring sessions.

I’d like to invite Federal employees across government to join us Tuesday, February 23, at our Washington, D.C. headquarters or via webcast for a program entitled “Why Mentoring Matters.” Our guest speaker will be Christina Goldfuss, managing director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who will talk about how mentoring has influenced her career.

This event was moved to February because of the snow storm. Federal employees who would like to attend the event in person can go to hru.gov to get registration information. The link to view the webcast is: http://web.2.c3.audiovideoweb.com/ca25web26002/7c3flslive1573.html

At OPM we believe mentoring is a critical element in workforce development, and while we encourage all employees to take advantage of the mentoring programs in their agencies, you don’t need a formal program to be a mentor or to find one. Mentoring someone can be as simple as getting a cup of coffee with a colleague. And finding a mentor can be as simple as approaching a co-worker you respect and admire and asking for some advice.

As National Mentoring Month comes to a close, let’s endeavor to develop and nurture mentoring relationships throughout the year. By doing so, we will enrich our careers and we will be to provide even better service to the American people.


January is National Mentoring Month and it’s a perfect time to spread the word about the values and possibilities of mentoring and celebrate the Federal workers who take the time to teach, inspire and help guide their colleagues in their careers.

Throughout the Federal government, agencies are finding innovative ways to foster the goals of National Mentoring Month, which are embodied in the President’s proclamation: “America is at its best when we lift each other up, when we pursue our individual goals while never forgetting that we are bound as one nation and as one people…”

I know I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors along the way in my career and hope that colleagues whose lives I’ve touched have benefitted from my mentoring.

At OPM, we are convening a roundtable discussion next week for employees to share their experiences and backgrounds and hopefully meet someone they can mentor or who can mentor them.

The governmentwide Flash Mentoring Program, which the Chief Human Capital Officers Council coordinates, has provided opportunities and programs at agencies throughout the government to help employees get tips on mentoring and to learn about the benefits of mentoring. In fact, a Flash Mentoring session is scheduled for next week at the Department of Education.

Since the Flash Mentoring Program’s first session in the fall of 2011, more than 600 federal workers have been mentored by more than 100 mentors and 27 agencies have participated in mentoring sessions.

But mentoring doesn’t require a formal program. Look around you. Find someone who you believe can help you develop your career, someone who may have a skills expertise that you would like to acquire. And look for someone who you can help reach his or her potential, who you can partner with and coach.

The President’s goal is to create a culture of mentorship throughout the Federal government. Let’s start now during National Mentoring Month and keep going during the year. Let’s make mentoring a way of life throughout this great Federal workforce.

 


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