October 2022 marked the end of a six-month mentorship program where five Virginia Ready Scholars were paired with a mentor in the tech/IT industry, receiving guidance on their career journey. The program was made possible by our partnership with Verisign, a technology company focused on domain name registry services and internet infrastructure. Five Verisign employees graciously volunteered their time and expertise to serve as mentors and invest in the lives of our Scholars.
Mentorship is a powerful and beneficial tool for any professional. “I chose to be a mentor because giving back to my community is important to me and helping grow future talent in technology is one way to do that,” says Bethany McNair, director of organizational learning and development at Verisign and one of our mentors.
Additionally, being mentored can:
- Lead to personal and professional development
- Help develop communication skills
- Grow your network
- Develop self-awareness
- Expose you to new perspectives
- Increase your chance of receiving a promotion
While your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be in your chosen industry, it can certainly help you get on the same page more quickly when discussing your career aspirations.
Everyone Can Win in Effective Mentorship
John Hayden, a VA Ready Scholar who earned his CompTIA A+ credential in August 2022, found a fulfilling career with Prince William County after completing his mentorship with Bethany.
“The cumulative effect of the program has been life-changing without the least addition of exaggeration,” John notes. “I now have a job that even with all of the daily pressures [of the job] still leaves me fulfilled at the end of the day. I think what resonates with me the most is the quality of family time that I have gained.”
John credits Bethany with much of his success in his job search. He shares that “she has been integral to my successful entry into the information technology field.”
Mentorship is also a valuable experience for the mentor. “Working with John was a really rewarding experience,” says Bethany. “Most people believe that only mentees benefit from this type of partnership, but it’s really a two-way street. Yes, there is much satisfaction that comes with knowing that you’re supporting someone on their personal career journey, but surprisingly, you’re learning so much from your mentees as well!”
Mentorship Resources for Success
While there are certainly challenges and barriers to developing a mentoring relationship, the benefits can far outweigh them at the end of the day.
VA Ready provides several resources for both mentees and mentors. This includes solutions for anticipated challenges of mentoring, like meeting consistency, committing the necessary time and energy, and setting expectations for both parties. Importantly, each mentor and mentee complete and sign a commitment agreement, solidifying their individual plan for engaging with each other. From there, the pairs launched into regular meetings where mentors listened to mentee’s stories, concerns, and challenges, as well as provide insights and guidance based on their own experiences.
Dreaming Bigger Dreams
John says, “VA Ready has given me the tools and support to be in control of my career trajectory and the ability to dream of bigger dreams.”
At the end of the day, we are working to foster mentorship opportunities and delivering a host of other career resources for Scholars so they too can dream bigger dreams.
We plan to continue offering these types of opportunities in partnership with our dedicated Business Partners, like Verisign.
Scholars can be on the lookout for invitations in their inbox, and businesses interested in partnering with VA Ready to provide mentoring to Scholars can reach out to email@example.com.