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News | Jan. 12, 2024

January’s National Mentoring Month offers resolution opportunities

By Total Force Directorate

January is National Mentoring Month, and Defense Contract Management Agency joins the greater Department of Defense community in recognizing the importance of mentoring and encouraging more team members to become mentors.

DCMA’s Total Force Directorate and its Leadership Development Program team manage the dedicated contributions of more than 450 mentor volunteers across the agency.

“Our mentorship program is open to every employee, from entry-level to a more experienced supervisor,” said Clint Covert, Leadership Development Program team lead within the Total Force Program’s Branch. “The leadership program exposes mentees to new ways of thinking as they advance in their careers. In addition, mentors’ experience and wisdom are invaluable resources for mentees’ leadership development.”

“Having completed my dissertation study on the topic of mentoring, my research found the role of mentoring becomes important in laying the guidance and coaching framework to encourage those activities required for promotion readiness,” said Juanita Christensen, Technical Directorate executive director. “The resultant common themes from my study found promotion readiness preparation consisted of the importance of diversity of experience and adaptability, the importance of networking and interactions with professional organizations, the role of mentoring for strengthening weaknesses, the need for leadership and management training, and the need for supervisors to use face-to-face forums for training identification.”

The Office of Personnel Management's survey of DCMA’s mentorship program confirms this philosophy.

“I have been able to discuss my goals and challenges with my mentor openly,” read one mentee’s response. “My mentor has shared wisdom with me that has helped me better navigate situations I encounter at work. My mentor has always been encouraging and has helped me gain confidence in my leadership potential.”

Another mentee stated, “I feel like I have taken more of a step forward in my career, especially regarding leadership courses, which my mentor has encouraged me to take, but also defining a vision for myself and going along with that vision.”

The survey included mentors: “As a mentor, I’ve been able to learn just as much from my mentee as he has learned from me,” and another highlighted the joy and professional development they extracted from their mentor role: “Being in the mentoring program as a mentor has been fantastic for helping me better apply my leadership techniques and approach. I have been able to better refine my why of wanting to help others become better leaders themselves. It has also opened up my horizon in working cross-functionally because I have built my abilities of active listening and sharing paths forward as recommendations.”

Amy Jenison, Total Force director of Policy and Programs, signaled a call to action as the agency seeks to expand mentoring opportunities.

“More mentors are needed throughout the agency. We ask leaders within DCMA to consider volunteering as a mentor,” she said. “Our current mentors continue to attest to how rewarding the mentorship program is.”

Recently retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Adam Rising, who spent the last few years of his career as DCMA’s senior enlisted advisor, said: “If 30 years of military and government service has taught me anything, it is that we cannot do anything great alone. Mentorship matters! Whether you are a mentor or mentee, investing in others with your time yields the most rewarding results in life, both personally and professionally.

“Serving as a mentor is one of the most direct ways to have a positive impact on others,” he continued. “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. So, sign up and become a mentor today.”

For more information about the program, visit the agency’s 365 mentorship site (DCMA login required).