On Thursday November 7th, I attended the West Des Moines Chamber Young Professionals – New View event. They had a Mentor Panel with Mary Bontrager from Workforce, Tina Carstensen from Shive Hattery, Phil Hodgin from RDG, Janette Larkin from Business Publications, and Scott Raecker from Character Counts in Iowa.
The panel started with some introductions and then moved to questions from the audience. One of the first questions was asking about how to identify mentors. In all the responses from the panel talked about looking where you want to be and find people who have already done it. For instance if you want to start a business you want to find someone who has already done this.
There also was a question about different types of mentors. Some mentors are assigned in a formal process in some companies. This happens a lot in large companies like Principal Financial. My wife works there and has been in a few formal mentoring groups. On the other end of the spectrum is informal mentors who you might have a coffee or lunch occasionally. The less formal would be less structured as well.
The members of the panel spoke about the phases of life and how you will need different mentors. Phil Hodgin from RDG spoke about how he became a corporate leader and was mentored by senior leaders in the organization. Scott Raecker had the special privlegde to be mentored by our former Govenor Robert Ray. This has been beneficial for him and his work at Character Counts.