One of Keyot’s core values is to give time and wisdom. Keyot team members have volunteered with several different organizations over the years. Earlier this year, three of us working in Keyot’s back office (myself, Veronica Fritsch and Joann Rurup) embarked on a search to find a new organization to give our time to.
We landed on Genesys Works, a local non-profit organization that works with high school students by providing pathways to career success through skills training, meaningful work experiences and impactful relationships.
While a lot of our clients have hired or worked side by side with people from Genesys Works, we are participating in this organization’s relatively new mentorship program, Talent Development Program (TDP). This was created for students entering their senior year of high school or who just completed high school and are entering their first year of college. Each of us is paired with a young woman mentee, with whom we meet at least once a month. All six of us will meet as a team once a quarter.
As mentors, we are helping these young women understand what it means to be a working professional; leverage what they’re learning in college into a career, helping them with career exploration including what they see as their first job after college, helping them set smart goals for their college years, and helping them create a five-year plan.
Keyot has prepared us to be good mentors
What drew Veronica, Joann and I to this type of give-back is that all three of us were part of Keyot’s Crew212 program; which is founded on this type of experience. In Crew212, you are inherently surrounded with Keyot mentors, from the partners to the people in the back office. There is also significant up-front training and you develop an ongoing relationship with your delivery manager throughout the time you are in the Crew212 program.
In addition to my Crew212 experience, a number of people poured their time, wisdom, energy and ideas into guiding me during my early 20s. Recognizing the impact that mentorship had on each of us personally, we jumped at the opportunity to create productive relationships with our TDP mentees.
The TDP mentoring program is designed to run for one year. However, if both parties are getting something from the experience, mentorships often carry on beyond the structure of the program. I hope to stay connected with my mentee through all the fun milestones including her graduation and her first job.
Mentoring’s impact on me
The TDP program is particularly fulfilling for me because Genesys Works helps underserved people in our community. There is a big pool of students in the program who will be the first college graduates in their families.
What most excited me about the person I’m mentoring is her energy. She is a full-time student, works full time and she is starting her own small business. She’s got an entrepreneurial drive. She’s very passionate about all the things she’s involved in, and that is really energizing for me. It is very satisfying to help her hone in on what she wants to do long term.
My mentoring take-aways
If you want to become a mentor: Try to plug into something you’re passionate about. Look for organizations or universities where you might connect with young people in your area of interest. Maybe it’s STEM. Perhaps you want to focus on supporting young people who are interested in a particular job or major, early in their careers.
If you want a mentor: You can never have too many mentors, especially leading up to, and during, the first five years of your professional career. It’s much like dating. Mentors can expose you to a variety of career-related experiences. It’s hard to know exactly what you want to do with your career unless you have tried a lot of different things, and can narrow your career decision down to the aspects you really like about each of those experiences.