Five U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood employees were selected to participate in the 2016 Installation Management Command Headquarters Centralized Mentoring Program.

Wayne Bardell, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and Joyce Connor, plans analyst with the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, were selected as mentors.

Kent Burns, human resources specialist, Sheila Moore, FMWR account technician, and Felesia Herron-Bryant, Warrior Reception and Departure Center chief, were selected as mentees.

The IMCOM Headquarters Centralized Mentoring Program is designed to develop high-potential employees into well-rounded managers at the middle or senior level, by preparing them to assume higher levels of responsibility.

"The benefit for being in the program is you develop a mentoring relationship with a more senior, successful installation management professional who is not within your supervisory chain," said Kathy Aydt, USAG Fort Leonard Wood deputy commander. "So now you are having conversations with somebody who is purely dedicated to helping you be better as an installation management professional."

For Bardell, as a mentor, it was an opportunity to give back to the command.

"I felt this would be an excellent opportunity to share my 'lessons learned' over many years of federal service to a junior employee," he said. "At some point in a career, I believe leaders and managers owe it to others to give back. This program was a positive way for me to give back."

During the upcoming year, each mentee will work with their mentor to broaden their knowledge of Army installation management and to develop a long-range Individual Development Plan for furthering their careers. Mentees will complete a one-week shadow assignment, usually at their mentor's duty location, to provide them an opportunity to interact with leaders at all levels.

"To this point, the experience has been wonderful," Herron-Bryant said. "My mentee team members are from different career fields, and they are willing to share information, and that is expanding my knowledge of the different career fields."

"I feel my role as the mentor is to encourage, motivate and help guide or offer a second opinion. It doesn't always translate to career advancement, but can also include work-related challenges," Bardell said. "In the case of my relationship with my mentee and his goal to be a deputy garrison commander, I hope to provide or open up opportunities for him to see how a garrison functions," he added.

The 12-month program will provide mentees and mentors alike with a viable network of contacts, associates and leaders throughout all levels and organizations of IMCOM to reach out for guidance, advice and professional development to enhance career and growth opportunities, Aydt said.

"My goal is to become the IMCOM G1, and this program gives me the tools I need," Herron-Bryant said.

"It has also helped me understand what I need to have concerning education and identifies job positions I need to hold to reach that goal," she said.

Although only five were selected from Fort Leonard Wood, Aydt encourages more to prepare to apply for next year.

According to her, the first step is to have all of the Civilian Education System requirements for your grade and position. Second is to seek out ways to improve yourself through additional training or developmental opportunities.

"The person who can do the most for your self-development is you," she said.

Additional requirements include two years of federal service, a fully successful or satisfactory rating on your last performance evaluation and mobility for future assignments within IMCOM.

Bardell said he was excited to have been selected and looks forward to this year as a mentor. He thinks there are more employees who would benefit from following his example.

"We have several top-notch directors in the garrison who I feel would make wonderful mentors and have so much to offer our workforce," he said. "They are seasoned professionals who have a wealth of knowledge and accomplishments that can be shared and help a junior employee attain the levels of success they each have in their own careers."