PRSA-SF and Mentor Connect: Finally, some good news in 2021
Written by Curie Sevilla, APR, PRSA-SF Director of Mentorship, Business Strategist, Stanford Conferences
It's pure luck or incredible timing.
When I thought the pandemic was a death knell to our mentorship program, it turned out to be a fantastic opportunity instead. Perhaps, it's pure luck AND incredible timing. Let me start from the beginning.
I was involved in mentoring First-Generation/Low-Income, or FLI, students at Stanford University for the last few years. Learning from these talented students has always been the high point of my mentoring experience.
When I pursued my APR, PRSA mentors such as Michelle Horaney, Mitchell Friedman, and David Vossbrink guided me in my rather turbulent APR journey. Both occasions left me with so many positive memories that I knew I had to find a way to give back.
I accepted the call to oversee the PRSA-SF mentorship program in the latter part of 2019. I still remember the exhilaration of meeting PRSA and PRSSA members at one of our lively mixers in downtown San Francisco sometime in December 2019. I was excited about connecting young professionals to seasoned ones. I was looking forward to promoting the PR profession's ideals while helping pave the way for colleagues to excel in their industries or to reinvent their careers.
Then Covid hit.
I had envisioned a year's worth of special events, meetings with fun ice breakers in between, enjoyable networking activities, and a host of in-person events designed to encourage engagement and build a community of mentors and mentees. The whole strategy was to promote the mentorship program during the many PRSA-SF events planned by the effervescent and hardworking PRSA-SF board. As winter turned to spring, in-person events became impossible.
We launched PRSA-SF's mentorship program in April 2020 via an informative Open House in Zoom. While my committee and I unveiled our mentorship program to many eager faces staring from their zoom screens, it became apparent that getting this off the ground would require more creativity and imagination. And a lot of manual spreadsheet work. It was quite tedious.
Unbeknownst to me, a mentorship program dubbed Mentor Connect was piloted by PRSA National in August 2020. After successfully testing the web-based platform to a select group of members, Mentor Connect is now available to mentors and mentees in our PRSA-SF chapter.
Susan Belanich, who is PRSA project coordinator for Mentor Connect, showed me the strength and versatility of this platform to help members build connections and form mentoring relationships with each other. The interphase will enable mentees to use a directory to find a mentor who can guide them towards their professional goals.
Best of all, there are no strict criteria to be a mentor or mentee. I share Susan's belief that anyone can benefit from having a mentor, no matter what career stage this individual is in, as long as there is a commitment to grow and a desire to connect.
To celebrate January Mentorship month and kick off this exciting mentorship platform, I invite PRSA-SF members to sign up today! Please note that all current PRSA-SF mentorship participants will be enrolled in this platform soon.
- Complete a training webinar on mentoring best practices, mentoring for diversity and inclusion, and program policies. This webinar runs for under an hour.
- Submit your application at Mentor Connect
- Indicate that you are a member of the PRSA-SF Bay Area chapter
- Mentees can sign up beginning in early February.
- Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Mentee," and I'll send you a reminder once this portal is ready to accept your application.
Participants will need to sign an agreement outlining the mentoring relationship's goals and structure, and all participants must be active PRSA or PRSSA members.
Whether it's luck or incredible timing, Mentor Connect promises to be an exciting platform for PRSA-SF members to flex their mentorship skills and ignite the spirit of volunteerism within.
I can't wait to tell you about our participants' stories of discovery and career growth in the future! For now, meet Catherine Brozena, APR and Sarah McBride.