One of my first mentors and still a trusted advisor and friend today, Pat Mueller, always told me that she was “pushing me through the curtain.” She’d make key introductions, take me to special events and recommend me for committees and programs that I didn’t even know existed. I’m grateful for her faith in me because some of the curtains I went through landed me on scary and new stages, so I always learned something and grew. That’s mentorship. That’s leadership.
Later this month, Marquette Mentors, the mentorship program of the Marquette University Alumni Association, tips off its 10th season. It’s easily one of my favorite annual “projects” and something I truly look forward to each and every year. And, as the program enters its teenage years, it’s already considered the gold standard for mentoring programs in higher education. Let me tell you a bit more.
The program emerged ten years ago as a pilot to meet a growing and significant demand for students to gain career insights from alumni across the globe. Yes, across the globe. With more than 115,000 graduates, Marquette’s reach is worldwide. But for local alums like me who still reside in Milwaukee, Marquette’s close to heart and home, so Marquette Mentors is not only a way to connect to student life but a reason to get back to campus often
Today, this high-touch, 1:1, and goals-driven initiative led by Dan DeWeerdt will reach more than 1,000 student mentees served since 2013. Participating students and alumni mentors are matched based on college, major, and career interests. They’re also accountable for agreeing to the mentee’s goals at the program’s outset in September and achieving them by the end of the academic year.
Why does mentoring matter, no matter where you went to school? Let me pontificate a bit if you will.
It sharpens soft skills
A recent LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report shows that 92% of talent professionals reported that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. Meeting in a non-work, yet professional setting helps build skills that you may not work to hone regularly. A mentor isn’t a boss, but rather an advisor with a…