A year of hard work in the Security Assistance Command, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Mentor Program earned honors for two of the mentees.
At the town hall meeting May 30, Maj. Gen. Jeff Drushal, USASAC commander, presented Chris Snyder, Pacific Command/Southern Command Regional Operations Division, with the plaque for Mentee of the Year and Kim Rizzardo, USASAC G4 Services and Products Division, with the plaque for the Most Improved Mentee.
Graduation for the Mentor Program was June 3.
Snyder has been with USASAC since 2014, starting as a supply technician in the European/African Command Division. She advanced to logistics management specialist in 2015, and she was promoted to central case manager in the Indonesia-Pacific Command/Southern Command/Northern Command Division in 2018.
Rizzardo, an Army veteran, started her federal career working in transportation at the Defense Depot in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and worked her way through supply technician and general supply specialist with the Defense Distribution Depot in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, and to her current position as a logistics management specialist with USASAC New Cumberland.
"The mentors observed both mentees during the course of their 12 months of training and saw them perform and interact on numerous occasions," Ann Scott, chief of the G4 Services and Products and Division at New Cumberland, said. The mentees also rated their peers.
Mentees were observed during lunch 'n' learn discussions and other training, with mentors paying attention to the style and substance of their comments. They were evaluated on their written skills in information papers and briefings, and their oral skills in briefings, training and the staff ride to Arlington National Cemetery.
"We evaluated their teamwork and leadership skills during the capstone project. We took into consideration whether a mentee had to constantly be reminded to stay engaged in the program or whether they took ownership of their role as a mentee," Scott said. "Last, we also did a peer evaluation and took that into account."
The Mentee of the Year excelled in all of these areas, she said.
"All mentees have a lot of room for growth when they enter the program, and the Most Improved Mentee is the person who best stretched themselves, maximized the opportunity and demonstrated outstanding growth during the year," Scott said.
In both instances, their peers thought highly of them, she said.
"It's a good feeling to know that my fellow mentees thought I should get this award," Snyder, who said she was surprised to receive the award, said. "And I want to thank them for this honor. We got to know each other throughout the year and saw the improvements in each other. In the future I hope we have opportunities to work together again."
Rizzardo also said she was surprised because she thought everyone did a great job on all the projects they were required to do.
"It is an honor to be recognized by my fellow mentees," she said. "I think we all deserved this award because of all the accomplishments that everyone made throughout the year."
Both Snyder and Rizzardo said they benefited most by preparing and presenting briefings.
"With the help of my mentor, Mr. Marty Cox, I was able to put together presentations, edit, practice and improve my projects," Snyder said. "Through the learning environment of the Mentor Program, I was able to improve my public speaking skills and my skills in developing presentations on my own and as a member of a team."
Rizzardo said preparing and presenting briefings helped her gain confidence with public speaking.
The next cohort gets started Friday. Snyder and Rizzardo had these words of encouragement for the new group.
"Your mentor is invaluable, they provide knowledge, advice and encourage you through the program," Rizzardo said. "Don't be afraid to reach out to them."
Snyder said, "I would advise them to use time management, to take and use constructive criticism positively and, most importantly, to take advantage of their mentor. They are a wealth of information and great advice. The mentors will motivate you and help you to develop and refine your skills. And you will have an advocate in your mentor."
Both said they believed the Mentor Program is of great benefit to their careers.
"I would encourage anyone to participate in the Mentor Program, regardless of how long they have been at USASAC," Snyder said. "You will challenge yourself through individual and group projects. With the knowledge acquired you will learn to write papers, prepare and present briefs, improve your resume and learn skills to improve your career."
"The Mentor Program promotes personal and professional development," Rizzardo said.