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By Clinton M. Covert
DCMA Total Force Directorate
January is National Mentoring Month. Research shows that mentoring increases employee productivity while positively impacting organizational culture and workforce retention. January 26 is “Thank Your Mentor Day.”
The Defense Contract Management Agency’s Total Force Directorate and its Leadership Development Program team recognize the importance of mentoring and the contributions of more than 350 mentor volunteers from across the agency.
“Our mentorship program allows mentors and mentees to self-select who they connect with based on individual interest, expertise and personal fit. The program is open to every employee, from entry-level to a more-experienced supervisor,” said Amy Jenison, Leadership Development Program team lead in the Total Force Programs Branch.
By establishing clear program expectations and creating an environment in which mentors and mentees value each other’s time, mentees are exposed to new ways of thinking as they advance in their careers. Mentees can seek advice and recommendations for their specific challenges. In addition, mentors can share their experience and wisdom as an invaluable resource for the mentee to learn from to avoid certain mistakes.
“Mentees benefit from their mentors’ experiences. This relationship helps mentees establish achievable goals. At the same time, mentors grow through the experiences shared by mentees while enhancing their professional networks,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Adam Rising, DCMA senior enlisted advisor.
Valisa Harris, the DCMA Manassas contracts group manager and a former agency mentor of the year for 2019 and 2020, added, “I share the same sentiments stated best by John Holmes, a poet who said, ‘There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.’”
Another DCMA leader thanked his previous mentors for his professional success.
“I would have never made it to where I am today without the guidance and amazing advice from my mentors. They always challenged me to do my best and to take it to the next level,” said Henry Decoteau, DCMA Garden City deputy director. “The right mentor can guide you and help you realize your full potential, this in turn can help you to attain your ultimate goals both in your personal and professional life.”
Elaine King, a financial management analyst at DCMA headquarters, said that she has a learned a lot of wisdom from her mentor. “I am fortunate to receive Chief Rising’s excellent mentorship. He is totally invested in being a mentor, and truly has a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and testimonies to impart to me as his mentee,” she said.
National Mentoring Month raises the awareness of mentors’ contributions and their positive impact on others. Agency mentees are encouraged to post their messages of gratitude to their mentors about their meaningful connections at DCMA's Leadership Development Program Blog (login required).
These success stories highlight past successes, and hopefully, encourage more team members to participate.
“More mentors are needed throughout the agency. We ask leaders within DCMA to consider volunteering as a mentor,” said Trong Nguyen, director of Policy and Programs for Total Force. “Our current mentors can attest to how rewarding the mentorship program is as it shapes DCMA’s emerging leaders, Keystones and anyone who aspires to be a lifelong learner to excel in fulfilling their personal and agency goals and objectives.
“Serving as a mentor is one of the most direct ways to have a positive impact on others. When done correctly, the mentor-mentee relationship is one where the mentor also learns new things. Building the next cohort of mentors is key to building DCMA’s team of trusted professionals and delivering value to the warfighter throughout the acquisition lifecycle, so sign up and become a mentor today.”
More information about the program can be found on the agency's Mentorship Program 365 website (login required).
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