If you are interested in being a mentor or a mentee or have questions about the program, contact Steve Jackson.
The Division of Financial Affairs (DFA) Finance Mentor Program helps employees across the campus connect with each other to develop relationships that empower participants to have a greater impact on their organizations by advancing skills and enhancing self-esteem. The program is available to Cornell employees in every organization who wish to develop expertise in finance fields. DFA has been facilitating the program for more than ten years with positive results and feedback.
Mentors volunteer to help interested mentees expand their knowledge and skills in various areas of finance. The program runs for 16-18 months depending on the number of participants, with a two-month break during year-end (June and July). Mentors and mentees are matched, using mentor software (Wisdomshare), based on needs, skills, and experience. At the beginning of the program, all participants attend an orientation kick-off meeting, where they network and receive details and resources.
Each mentee begins with one mentor, who will remain a counselor for that mentee throughout the program, and then the mentee will rotate to a different mentor every two months. The primary (first) mentor and mentee pair can keep in contact throughout the program as they desire. Previous pairs have benefited from scheduling meetings in advance, meeting regularly in the same place, scheduling frequent meetings when they started the program, and engaging in job shadowing.
Not only will being a mentee help promote professional growth, it will also improve awareness of the organization as a whole, provide exposure for ideas and creativity, and increase self-confidence.
Mentees are the students in this process, playing the role of the active listener and communicator. To get the most out of the program, mentees are expected to play an active role in their own development by identifying their own specific needs, asking for help with they need it, and making effective use of that help to increase their own personal effectiveness and productivity.
Successful mentees should have realistic expectations of the mentor relationship, the courage to try new things a ways of doing things, be able to articulate their thoughts and feelings and dilemmas they encounter, and be able to give and receive feedback productively and evaluate themselves objectively.
For a mentor, the program provides opportunities for networking and developing coaching skills, renewed interest in professional and personal development, new confidence and self-respect, and a sense of pride from helping another person better themselves, which also results in greater success for the organization.
Mentors play the role of guidance counselor, acting as a cheerleader as well as a coach and role model, providing information and encouragement. They are expected to maintain confidentiality and serve as a confidante, provide a positive and realistic attitude, establish clear and open communication, and encourage creative and independent thinking.
Successful mentors will have a genuine interest in the subject and in mentoring, excellent listening skills, a commitment to the process, sensitivity to the needs of others, and the ability to provide feedback productively.
Over the years, participants have helped the program grow and improve by sharing their successes and challenges and feedback on what they liked or didn't like about the program.
Mentor: The organization of the rotation schedule was very helpful. It kept things on track.
Mentee: I feel the rotation of mentors is a great asset. Sometimes mentors and mentees just aren’t sure what to work on, or things get really busy, or mentors and mentees just don’t click, so it is helpful that they are many different mentors to work with, and therefore different styles, approaches and areas of expertise.
Mentor: Learning a little more about the university as a whole – not just my small center.
Mentee: I think it is good networking. Great way to meet people outside of your own work area.
Mentor: I would not have the session run through year-end (perhaps pause May, June, July, and August). It seems as though a few of my mentees were too busy to even make contact, let alone meet.
Mentor: When mentees are available, I think the meetings and areas they are interested in are going well. I am giving them actual work to do.