Investing in Others as a Mentor
Are you ready, willing and able to mentor others? Are you emotionally and psychologically prepared to invest time and effort in helping another person? Do you have the time, skills and freedom to devote yourself to another person? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, and you are ready to make a commitment, you may be ready to begin mentoring others.
To mentor is to change a life, if only in small ways. It can be applied to a variety of people, situations and purposes. Mentoring can range from an impromptu, off-the-cuff intervention, to an intense long-term relationship.
More and more businesses and government organizations use mentoring as a tool for organizational growth and development, not just for career development. Mentoring is quickly becoming a valuable tool in preparing an organization for competitive challenges and succession planning. However, be aware that taking on a formal mentoring assignment may mean occasional inconveniences and less time for other duties. And, mentoring that causes you significant stress or loss in other areas of your life, should be weighed carefully before you make a commitment.
Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.
- John C. Crosby
Yet, if you are ready, the personal satisfaction may be well worth your time and effort. If you have never been a mentor before but feel you are in a unique position and ready to become one, seek out people and resources to help you prepare for your new role. As a mentor, you should be adding value to a person, enriching their quality of life and, expanding their life purpose and capabilities. As a mentor, you need to believe in the value of your work without worrying about returned favors. If you have, or can develop, a freely giving nature, you will likely mentor all through your life – probably without thinking much about it.
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In an ongoing effort to both highlight our profession and increase the effectiveness of landscape architects, the Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects recruits persons to get involved in the professional / student mentoring program.
The goal of the program generally is to support the going development of young professionals and students for the future of landscape architecture. This effort specifically serves to assist persons to better understand the landscape architecture profession and to assist them in transitional career moves / academic pursuits to the working world. Additionally, our effort is in keeping landscape architecture professionals in touch with landscape architecture programs in this state and the interests of the students in those programs.
Among the many real benefits of this program both for students and professionals are; employment, skills training, insights, public relations continued education, networking and social contacts.
The Mentoring Network tries to match professionals and students based on their interests and geographic locations as closely as possible. Beyond that the program is very flexible. The intent is that the student and professional will meet in person at least once each semester or communicate via e-mail and by phone if that's possible.
Professionals often address questions on a variety of topics related to landscape architecture. Topics frequently include issues such as: student projects, portfolios, interviewing, finding internships, current issues in the profession, etc. At the end of the school year a brief follow-up survey will be sent to the participants so that we may refine the program. Participants may opt out of the program at any time by contacting the mentoring program coordinator.
Students and professionals are encouraged to sign-up today. If you are interested in pursuing the mentoring program please fill out the sign-up form here. Please feel free to share additional information such as your thesis topic that further defines your interest areas within the profession.
This mentoring program is part of the ongoing endeavor MASLA is making to enhance the ties between practicing professionals and students. We will explore additional mentoring ideas at later times in the monthly newsletter.
To apply for this great program, download the Michigan Mentoring Program Form (pdf)
For more information, download
"Career Guides: How Mentors can Help You" (pdf)
Thank you for your interest in the mentoring program.
Clare Jagenow, ASLA
Executive Committee - At Large Member
Mentoring Program Coordinator