When Karen Logan, plant manager, Pneumatics Division in Wadsworth, Ohio, was asked to become a mentor, she willingly volunteered - appreciating the opportunity to help someone with less tenure develop in their career. What she never expected was how much she would gain – both personally and professionally – from the experience.
“Establishing a relationship with someone outside of my group has been one of the greatest benefits of becoming a mentor,” said Karen. “It’s also really rewarding to know you’re having a positive impact on a colleague’s professional life.”
Justin (JB) Bryant, value stream manager, O-Ring Division, Lexington, Kentucky, is Karen’s mentee. He was paired with her through his participation in Parker’s Building for the Future program, which focuses on leadership development and includes mentoring as a central component.
“The program pairs participants with a mentor who has similar career goals and interests,” said JB. “Karen is further along in her career than I am, which gave me a view into what it’s like to be a step or two ahead. And since we’re in different divisions, I got a glimpse into a part of business I hadn’t been exposed to before.”
Three operating groups – Aerospace, Automation and Engineered Materials – facilitate the mentoring program, which has the following components:
Mentees are expected to create development plans with specific goals, which are reviewed with their mentor
Mentors and mentees must meet once per month, with at least one meeting per quarter in person
Participants are asked to review materials to help them learn about mindfulness, emotional intelligence and business acumen.
The formal program lasts for 12 months, although the hope is that mentors and mentees will establish lasting relationships.
“The best part about the program were the things that I never expected to gain from it,” said JB. “The unforeseen things, like helping each other through challenges in our businesses or bonding over daily struggles and accomplishments. It was really helpful to have someone I could trust to bounce ideas off of.”
“I was surprised how well the pairing worked – JB and I were a great fit,” said Karen. “We both come from an operations background, so we could relate to each other’s day to day. For me, it was great to make a connection with someone in another division – to broaden my perspective – while also giving JB insight and visibility into my division and what we do.”
While JB has finished the official program, he plans to continue meeting with Karen for the next several months, saying, “I still feel that I have a lot to learn from her.” Regardless of when their formal mentoring comes to an end, they both agree that they have developed a lasting relationship.
And they both also agree on this: everybody can benefit from participating in a mentoring program.
JB says, “Mentoring definitely opens the door to what’s possible – and gives you someone to talk to, to listen to you and to help you understand all the opportunities available.”
Karen echoes that sentiment. “Speak up and ask for what you need. The company is here to help you. And for those with more experience, don’t underestimate how much you have to gain from being a mentor.”
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