Good leaders listen to their team, advocate for them, and provide needed resources. They also believe in developing employees to become future leaders.
One Security Assistance Command division chief recognized the lack of mentorship opportunities for employees and took steps to change that.
At USASAC’s New Cumberland, Pennsylvania location, Services and Products Division Chief Jewel Ann Scott presented the idea for a mentorship program to provide professional development opportunities for employees. With the support of USASAC G-4 Director Mike Casciaro, they successfully launched a program in 2017.
“The goal was to create a structured developmental program that affords employees multiple, challenging opportunities for personal and professional growth through regular access to more senior employees and projects designed to strengthen their competencies,” Scott said.
Since its inception, the program has proven to be a successful component of USASAC’s People First mission. “The program fosters an enterprise perspective, builds mentees’ confidence by strengthening their proficiency in the Army’s leadership competencies and core competencies,” Scott said. “It also builds trusting relationships between mentors and mentees, supports knowledge transfer between them, and encourages excellence.”“I not only think the mentees benefit from this program but the mentors as well,” Mair said. “Someone is always bringing new perspectives and experiences that can provide insights not previously thought of.”
For one mentee, his participation sparked immediate growth. Financial specialist Aaron Mair joined the program in July and said it has allowed him to interface with people he otherwise would not have had the chance to meet.
During the year, participants take staff rides to historic locations. The purpose is to enhance mentees’ written and oral communication and briefing skills, while building their confidence. Each participant is asked to brief the team on a significant historical leader, focusing on his or her leadership style, actions and impacts, while at one of the related historical locations.
Mentees have taken staff rides to locations that include Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, and most recently Valley Forge National Historic Park in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
The program consists of 12 mentors and 12 mentees, split between USASAC’s New Cumberland and Redstone Arsenal locations. To join the program, employees can self-nominate with supervisors’ concurrence and complete a questionnaire that a panel will use as the basis for selection.
Scott says the goal is not for the program to get bigger. She instead wants to see the program become more refined each year in the concepts taught and how mentees are asked to demonstrate them.