The Security Assistance Command has honored its graduates of the annual command mentor program.
There were 10 mentees from across the command in this year’s class. These employees were located at several sites within the organization and included new and seasoned employees.
“A mentor is someone who acts as an adviser to a less experienced individual, known as their mentee,” according to Indeed.com. “The mentor helps this individual grow and develop as a professional, often offering advice based on their more advanced knowledge or experience. Mentorship relationships can be built through networking, personal connections, or formal mentorship programs.”
The USASAC mentor program began in 2017 at New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. In 2021, at the direction of Myra Gray, deputy to the commanding general, the program expanded to include other command locations, including Redstone and the Washington field office for USASAC. Each year the program has seen an average of 13 mentor/mentee pairs in the program.
“Despite the complexity of having the program at multiple locations, the consensus among participants was that it was a value-added expansion, as it allowed us to get more, and different perspectives into our training and discussions,” said Ann Scott, chief of Services and Products Division, Logistics and Acquisition in Pennsylvania. She has been with the program since its inception.
“The mentor program affords rising employees in the command with an opportunity to present information briefings from the grassroots level about areas they think could use improvement in the Army security assistance enterprise,” Scott said.
Mentors select the most relevant and potentially impactful topics for the mentees to develop and present as a decision briefing a “capstone project,” a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating intellectual experience for students. The winning briefing is recognized during the end-of-program graduation ceremony.
The decision briefing that won this year was titled “Improving Analytical Skills at USASAC,” presented by Amanda Rickabaugh, Performance and Process Management Office; Adriana Marcewicz and Robyn McCollom, Logistics and Acquisition directorate; and Aaron Mair, Resource Management directorate. When the project was presented to Gray she asked the mentees to make revisions and pass the briefing to the P2MO and the Strategic Integration, Policy and Analysis directorate for input and review.
Past projects that are now part of the USASAC fabric that came out of the mentor program include the Orientation for New Employees, or ONE, and a functional training program now run by the SiPA directorate. Additionally, the Secretary of the General Staff is working on a live virtual organizational chart that came out of the program.
“The USASAC mentor program touched on a litany of topics which I found were both pertinent, and very beneficial for me,” Ben Drew, command facilities and equipment manager, said. “I enjoyed getting the perspectives and feedback from the mentors who were actively involved in the program, and they certainly represent a solid group of professionals from all across USASAC.”
“This experience has been a great environment to learn various parts of the USASAC enterprise,” Celine McKinney said. “As an upcoming country program manager, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning and experimenting with my skills in presentations.”
Mentors also benefit from this relationship. According to Indeed.com, “mentorship can provide numerous benefits for mentors and their mentees. Developing this relationship can help both of you learn new things, build your networks and grow as professionals.”
The next 12-month cycle will begin in August. Mentor program managers will send out an email message to the workforce soliciting both mentors and mentees. Mentees self-nominate and require a supervisor’s approval as well as submission of a statement explaining their desire to be in the program and how they believe it will help them personally and professionally. A panel of senior leaders and mentors will review the applications to select who will be in the program for the next year.
“I would encourage anyone who is serious about professional development to be a part of this program,” Drew said.