LOS ANGELES — More than a dozen employees interested in finding a mentor rotated through a speed-dating style, mentoring-matchmaking process at the Los Angeles District office Feb. 13.
The first-of-its-kind event resulted from a brainstorming session among members of the Mentoring Program’s Mentoring Team, made up of individuals who volunteer their time to support the program and work to ensure the program stays relevant.
“The challenge was how to bring people together to meet potential mentors or associates that they would otherwise not have a chance to meet,” said Mentoring Champion Danny Carrasco, who helps make sure the team has the resources and level of attention the program needs to succeed.
Having the event close to Valentine’s Day and recognizing the popularity of the speed-dating concept, the Mentoring Team rallied to festively decorate a room and create speed-dating rules to best match mentors and associates.
According to Carrasco, the goal of the session and the overall program is to improve relationships and communication pathways between all levels of employees. He said the Mentoring Team continuously works to increase the active number of participants, as well as provide resources to assist in building and maintaining those relationships.
“The matchmaking mentoring session was a valuable experience for me, because I was able to select a mentor and build new relationships outside my division,” said Noemi Rodriguez, Department of the Army intern. “Aside from having the advantage of going to my selected mentor for guidance, I am now comfortable to visit and ask for guidance from all the other mentors who attended the event.”
“The program currently has approximately 30 participating pairs, but it has had more than 40 pairs in the past,” Carrasco said.
The Mentoring Program was formalized in the District in 2008. The general rules of the program indicate mentoring can be formal and informal and will occur with a senior or experienced employee as the mentor. The formal type involves scheduled meeting dates and times, due-outs or possible homework, and short and long-term goals. The informal type involves flexible meeting dates and times, as well as short and long-term goals.
“Employees shouldn’t worry if they missed the speed-dating session, because they can contact Kelli Johnson or Tomas Beauchamp if interested in the program,” Carrasco added.
Carrasco said he was impressed by the hard work and creativity of the District’s Mentoring Team, which includes the following people: Harold Hartman, Anne Hutton, Sallie McGuire, Heather Schlosser, Chad Allen, Reuben Sasaki, Alison Lind, Kathy Corntassel and Noemi Rodriquez.