Chris, a Talent Acquisition Specialist in Tulsa, Oklahoma, gained important insights from his mentor, Mike. Mike, Shared Services Director in Tulsa, mentored Chris for almost a year starting in 2016.
“Mike manages three departments, so working with him gave me the opportunity to speak to someone who sees solutions at a higher level,” Chris says. “Gaining his perspective helped me understand how an upper-level manager addresses issues and finds opportunities.”
Mike aimed to make the mentorship a positive and meaningful experience for Chris. “I went in with the goal of being a good listener,” says Mike. “I tried to use my experiences in work and life to give Chris some direction and encouragement.”
The core of the program
The mentee/mentor relationship between Chris and Mike exemplifies the purpose of the Formal Mentor Program. The program assists mentees in their professional and personal development by focusing on company culture, diversity, leadership, interpersonal skills and work/life balance.
Chris and Mike met monthly for an hour. Chris came to each meeting with specific questions and general topics to cover. Mike used his experience and knowledge to guide Chris through their discussions.
“Our meetings were informal and Chris always came prepared with questions or discussion topics that interested him or related to something he was working through,” Mike says. “My part was easy. I listened, asked some questions and offered some advice.”
A priceless experience
What was easy for Mike proved to be invaluable to Chris. “I learned it doesn’t matter what your title is,” Chris says. “It’s all about developing trust and influence in your role. That can be achieved through interpersonal skills — like knowing your audience and communicating in a way they would best receive the information.”
Mike also gained some takeaways from their relationship. One lighthearted lesson he learned was the art of wearing somewhat less conservative socks. “I helped Mike up his sock game,” Chris says. “He still has a long way to catch up, but we had some fun talking about funky socks.”
On a more serious note, Mike says he “realized that we have some exciting younger talent working here who, like Chris, are eager to work hard, seek approval and recognition from their peers and management, and get involved in extra programs such as community support and networking.”
Neither hesitates in encouraging others to participate in the program.
“You come out of the program with a new perspective, no matter what your goals are,” Chris says. “I would tell anyone to jump into the program,” Mike says. “We don’t grow as individuals unless we step outside of our comfort zone and dare to try something different. It’s a unique opportunity to build a professional relationship that may not happen otherwise.”