This column ran on Sunday, July 20, 2014, in The Coloradoan, a daily newspaper in Fort Collins, Colorado. ITP loves this type of endorsement and we hope it inspires you to pay it forward. We invite you to view the list of new projects and pre-register to mentor a student this fall.
Back when I worked in high-tech marketing and was just a newbie, a more experienced colleague pulled me aside one day and said, “Be sure to proof the headlines and phone numbers in your materials. Many people forget to do that.”
It seemed like a small thing, but I heeded her advice and was immensely grateful as just one month later I watched a co-worker get canned because he’d allowed the wrong phone number to be printed on 10,000 glossy brochures. My adviser’s name was Diane, and I remember her fondly as my first mentor. Over three years, she provided me tidbits of valuable guidance.
Now that I’m more experienced, I look for opportunities to return some of the mentoring I so generously received. If you’re in a similar stage in life, consider getting yourself and your company involved in the International Telementor Program, a system designed to support students in achieving their academic and career goals.
The organization was started in Fort Collins and has served over 47,000 youths in 11 countries with mentors from 22 countries.
As a participating mentor, you would provide advice, information and hope as you work with a student to complete a project during the school year. Projects range from science-related assignments to career exploration to understanding business fundamentals. To view projects seeking mentors, visit www.telementor.org/
For most students, the telementoring program is their first opportunity to collaborate with a professional.
Last year, Fort Collins business owner Kim Sharpe mentored a student who had interest in learning about career options that fit her interests, specifically in music and human services.
“It took about 30 minutes each week to communicate and provide my best advice,” Sharpe said. “A couple times, I reviewed her project-related work and submitted my comments to her via the International Telementor Program secure website. It was efficient and easy.”
And remember, your input as a mentor doesn’t need to be bleeding edge or from a textbook. Sometimes the most valuable support is simply a quick, “You’re doing great. I believe in you!” message sent from the comfort of your keyboard to a student who needs a boost.
Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed., is the author of “The Career Coward’s Guides” and provides career and job search support with Career Solutions Group in Fort Collins. Reach her at (970) 224-4042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.