Tips for a Meaningful Mentoring Experience | John Donohue, Associate V.P., Corp. IS, Penn Medicine

Oct 23, 2019

A Mentoring Moment with John Donohue, Associate Vice President, Corp. IS Penn Medicine

"I believe in creating and fostering an eco-system of mentorship, so I’ve implemented mentoring into my department heads’ professional development plans. By investing in the success of new professionals, you further contribute to the success of your department, your company, and of your own leadership capabilities," explains Donohue.

And mentoring is particularly important in information security. "With the cybersecurity field being so dynamic and evolving so quickly, infosec professionals need to receive feedback that much faster. And the earlier professionals learn how to ‘marry’ cyber with the business side of a company, the sooner they’ll be able to more successfully ‘sell’ their concepts and priorities to ‘the biz," he continues.

If you're a novice or aspiring mentor, Donohue suggests you:

  1. Prepare. Learn/know about the person you’re mentoring. Review her/his CV and online professional profiles, so you can provide some initial, immediate feedback.
  2. Understand. Ensure you’re clear about the mentee’s objective(s) and your plan to help her/him realize those goal(s).
  3. Set Expectations. At the onset, discuss how the relationship is going to work, on both sides.
  4. Be Accessible.  Aside from your meeting schedule, make yourself available if/when something comes-up and your mentee needs a few minutes to talk through a challenge or idea.

If you're a current or soon-to-be mentee, Donohue recommends you:

  1. Find the right mentor. Look for someone you respect. Notice how the person handles her/himself. Determine what you’re trying to gain. Then, align yourself with someone who aligns with those things.
  2. Apply the ‘Goldie Locks’ rule of thumb. Don’t be shy, but be respectful of the mentor’s time. Don’t ask for too much time, but enough that it demonstrates you’re invested in this person investing in you.
  3. Have Self-Awareness. Conduct yourself with confidence and ensure you can articulate what you need from this person and why.
  4. Prepare. Be ready to get down to biz by having two-three good questions in-mind before meeting with your mentor. This prep will prove to be an effective, respectful use of time, and it’ll engage and energize your mentor at the onset.

And whether you're a mentor, mentee or not yet ready for such a committment, connect with a professional network. "Joining a community like Ashling Team helps you look outside your organization and, subsequently, enables you discover new approaches and ideas. Networks, like mentors, are important to professional growth for you can learn so much. And they’re a great resource if you’re seeking a mentor or are interested in serving as one," says Donohue.

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