Unofficially, I’ve had mentors my entire professional career, I think a lot of the times this happens when you really don’t even sign up for it. It’s kind of a natural thing that happens with coworkers. And I think that the ability to connect with another professional is an invaluable experience. It’s just kind of an evolution of “I work with you and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me”.

We really value development at Indianapolis International Airport. It’s a top priority for us, making sure that our employees have really awesome opportunities. Because of this, we wanted to find a way to formalize how we could build relationships organizationally. Adding this Engage Mentoring program was just one of those ways that allowed us to formally make those connections.

Last year we opened our mentoring program externally with Engage Mentoring so we could connect with individuals externally (outside of IIA). We still partner internally, but now we’ve just added the external element and then we opened it organizationally. Previously, we did not have everybody participating and now that we’ve opened it to the community and opened it within the organization, engagement immediately skyrocketed and we were able to add quite a few new mentees and mentors. One of our mentors actually connected with someone who was in the healthcare industry, which obviously is not really an IIA line of business, but those specific skills that the mentee was seeking were really relevant to our mentor’s position and her skill set. So their relationship grew and it was so positive that she actually is now connected with one of her coworkers and was on the phone with her while her nephew was being born at the hospital.

Mentoring is a vital part of an individual’s career growth. Often, it just happens naturally without you really realizing it within the relationships you make at work and even personally. I think mentors get as much out of the program as the mentees do, because we’re really never done growing in our careers. And even when we reach what we define as “personal success”, there’s still always a lot to learn from each other. Mentoring is just an awesome way to make that formal connection.