For me personally, what I’ve learned about mentoring and having a mentor or mentee is that it is more about the partnerships and the connections that we make with people than anything else. And it wasn’t until getting started and re-evaluating what was needed for me, for my whole-self and in my life, whether that be personally, professionally…What type of partnerships do I need to be connecting with? Up until that moment when I did the re-evaluation, I wasn’t able to make those changes and see the difference in how I feel. What shows up in life and what I pay attention to really made that difference.

When it comes to developing our people, looking at what 3Rivers already had available, we have a lot of tools in our tool kit that we use to help individuals grow. People talk about compartmentalizing with personal and professional in order to bring our whole selves to work every day. There are things that are on our minds, whether that be from home when we’re working, or things in our minds from work that we think about when we come home.

So we wanted to figure out  how we make sure that people are paying attention to themselves and that’s where (when we found Engage Mentoring) we were looking at a feeling of okay, these are people (Engage Mentoring) that are willing to share success stories and really focus on what matters to people and really connect with them. And instead of always focusing on people in work, within that capacity, we wanted people to show up with their whole self.

Partnering with Engage Mentoring was a vehicle to mentor with people outside of our own organization. In part of our people initiative, one of the areas we focus on is supporting your development. So we’re reaching out instead of waiting for things to happen and Engage Mentoring shows up for us.

I am not what people consider an outgoing type of person, I am not extroverted, and so what I will share is this has allowed me, personally, the opportunity to connect on my own terms, on my own time and focus on being okay with just the mention of connecting with someone outside the organization. I’ve been able to be intentional about those partnerships and continue them even outside of this program when we’re done with mentoring sessions, continuing to stay in touch with many different people across the country.

What I really appreciated about Engage Mentoring is that they are always willing to listen, to improve and to make things better. When we initially partnered with them, 3Rivers had a voice in how they grew the program. If we were looking for something to make it better, whether that be that we wanted to focus on a specific type of skill because it was something we thought was really needed in our organization, they found a way to make it happen. It might not be overnight, but they go to their developers and find ways to integrate as much of what the people need as possible. And that is what I truly appreciate about being involved in the Engage Mentoring program.