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You Are Already a Mentor

Katie was more than a great grants professional, she was my mentor. She pushed me to seek something bigger than myself. She asked how I had moved my vision forward. Katie connected me with other grant professionals, suggested tools to incorporate into my work habits, and provided a listening ear when a proposal got derailed.

Who in your life sounds like Katie? We are all mentored in life, whether it is a brief encounter that sticks with us or someone who intentionally asks us the questions that compel us to action. Mentors hold us accountable, challenge us, and bring us greater clarity on our values and purpose. Transformation occurs through the inspiration of another person. Are you ready to be that person?

It is more difficult to grow when you do not have like-minded individuals around you. Fortunately, the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) provides an opportunity for members to link with other grant professionals. The GPA developed the Mentor Match program to make connecting with others easier. The challenge is now before you: will you become a mentor to grow other grants professionals?

Below are some common comments expressed when someone is unsure if being a mentor is the right choice.

I don't have time! Certainly, it is true that a grants professional has plenty of deadlines, meetings, and grant proposal responsibilities. However, it often takes another person to help clear the way for new talent to develop into a wonderful grants professional! Developing people can be the most valuable investment of time.

The time commitment does not need to be unruly. The Mentor Match program asks mentorship pairs to meet for an hour (via phone, video, or even in person) at least once a month during the year-long commitment. With some time dedicated to preparation or post-meeting check-ins, the time committed is about 12 hours in the next year.

Think about your mentee following your lead and becoming a mentor. When this occurs, the 12 hours you devote multiplies through your mentee.

What if it doesn't go well? The GPA's Mentor Match program is designed to help mentors and mentees navigate challenges when a match does not seem to work well. Rarely does a pair need to kindly disengage. An initial “get to know you” call helps solidify if the match will be beneficial for both participants.

As a mentor, you are supported by the Mentor Match Committee, other mentors, and the GPA. Specifically, the GPA Mentor Match program realizes that if a mentor is not supported, then a mentee is not supported either. When you enroll as a mentor, you gain access to a mentoring community within GrantZone. This online community contains articles, worksheets, and videos that help you devise how to best support your mentee(s).

I don't have anything to offer! Remember the people who helped you become a better grants profession? You have the opportunity to be that person for someone else.

In addition, mentors should not be advisors. You do not have to have all the answers! A mentor asks thoughtful questions that help the mentee discover his or her own course. By doing so, the mentee is transformed and better equipped to handle future challenges.

You could create the change in a person's life that could help him or her thrive in the grants profession. Do you remember who helped you begin as a grants professional? Are you ready to be that person? If the answer is yes or maybe, enroll and learn more about the GPA's Mentor Match program by clicking here.
Dr. Mollie Bond is the Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations for Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. She holds a BA in Radio-Television Production, an MBA, and a doctoral degree in nonprofit leadership with her research focus on mentoring women of Generation X. Mollie serves as chair of Envision, a professional development community for the women at Moody, and chair of the Grant Professionals Association Mentor Match Committee.

GPCI Competency: GPC Competency Seven titled, “Knowledge of practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant Professionals,” and in particular under point one: “identify advantages of participating in professional organizations.”



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