Newbiedom News

by Adia Kilpatrick
LoyalroyaL British Shorthairs

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Though still in its kittenhood, I'd bet my last purr that each of its members, mentor and protege alike, has benefited from CFA's Mentor Program.

From posed questions receiving multi-faceted answers through creative ideas and unique solutions, each of us has gleaned golden nuggets of helpful information through online exchanges.

Sure, the Mentor Program has yet to level out some dips and bumps, but I, for one, already expect it to reach far beyond its grasp. In fact, the only challenge I perceive to the Program's success is to establish within each team clear, mutual understanding of personal goals.

Upon receiving the happy news I'd been selected as an official protege in CFA's Mentor Program, my designated mentor emailed a letter of introduction. I immediately took the initiative to bombard her with questions - not all at once, but steadily (constantly!) one at a time. My objective was to print out each emailed question/answer to collect in a binder for future reference. While this seemed a great idea to me, I soon realized I hadn't once considered that maybe my mentor had planned a different approach. Turned out she already had an informational binder she intended to give me when we first met.

Upon the birth of the CFAMentoring Yahoogroup, one protege expressed gladness for having been selected as a Program participant, but felt suspended in a "what next?" mode. I smiled recognizing this mode as the exact opposite of my initial reaction, yet it likely reflected the same
question in her mentor's mind.

Bottom line is we're all everyday people converging on common ground and trying to establish new relationships as we embark upon a new venture. The key to success lies in open and direct communication. Mentors sincerely want to help us, but some, if not most, would appreciate our letting them know how. Proteges have the responsibility of defining their goals and soliciting information. In turn, mentors have the responsibility of guiding proteges toward their stated goals by both providing and requesting information. After I paused long enough to let my mentor speak, I learned things I hadn't known enough to ask about! A microcosm of the process may be: Protege says, "I'm here and want to go there. How do I this; when do I that?" and Mentor, understanding where "there" is, guides by asking, "Have you done this; are you doing that?"

Such give-and-take discourse is central to all successful relationships and endeavors, and CFA's Mentor Program, without exception, depends on active participation by all its members. We've a wonderful opportunity here for accomplishments that will benefit not only CFA but also future
generations of mentors and proteges.

I feel blessed and grateful to be part of this outstanding program!

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