FORT MONROE, VA -- The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Senior Leader Development Program (SLD) is developing a structured and formal mentoring program for its civilian leaders, according to Ellen Helmerson, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1/4. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, the program includes content-driven discussion guides and interactive webinars and seminars targeted at developing this next generation of Army civilian leadership.

SLD supports the TRADOC Civilian Leader Development Program by providing a centrally funded and managed training program to develop civilian leaders who are able to lead and manage change, think strategically, and represent the Army across organizations. SLD is comprised of a variety of training instances, short-term, long-term, and developmental assignments over a period of two years.

Each participant in the SLD Program is strategically matched with a mentor who is a member of the Senior Executive Service Corps or a Highly Qualified Expert, Helmerson said. Each mentor is selected for a unique ability to help the mentee move forward on his/her leadership development goals, creating a partnership that allows for open dialog and feedback. The program started January 20, 2010 in nearby Newport News with participants traveling from across the United States to attend the inaugural session. There are 12 mentor partnerships in the program currently, with an additional class planned for kick-off in the summer.

The mentoring curriculum highlights topics such as career planning and interpersonal leadership skills. Participants also focus on how to enhance their executive decision-making skills and how manage and develop people at the senior leadership level. Most of the participants are based at TRADOC headquarters, however, this is a nationwide program, so the command is utilizing webinars and teleconferencing technologies to facilitate distance learning for several mentee/mentor pairs.

Participants in the SLD Program are poised to advance to leadership positions within TRADOC and the US Army in general. During their program experience, some individuals may advance their education at respected institutions including the Army War College, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Federal Executive Institute, MIT Sloan School of Management and the Brookings Institution.

The addition of the mentorship program, coupled with the leadership development assignments and executive education, support the overarching goal of the program - to prepare a bench of ready, willing and exceptionally skilled senior-level civilians.