The benefits of mentoring...


Christine Stumm

University of Buffalo
Asst. Director of Admissions School of Pharmacy

I attended the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) Annual conference on June 8th through 10th, 2011 at the University of Rochester. I presented on “The Benefits of Mentoring” alongside my current mentor, Jennifer M. Hess, as well as a few other admissions professionals including SUNYCAP’s Past President, Jeffery Gates.

As a new professional, I was able to provide insight into what it’s like being mentored by positive role models who have devoted their time and attention to fully coach me and foster meaningful professional relationships.

My first real mentor relationships were with two supervisors in an office that I worked in at the start of my undergraduate career through the end of my master’s program. After 12 years, we still meet for lunch to catch up on personal and professional matters. My mentor today is my current supervisor of five years, and I’m sure our relationship will continue indefinitely. These mentors are self-motivated and driven women who have had a great impact on my professional life including giving me advice on career paths and options, providing me opportunities to expand my responsibilities and contributions to the office, nominating me for awards and giving me praise and confidence, and by being a friend. 

In each of these mentor relationships, the greatest thing I learned was how to be productive and effectively manage and multi-task projects. Specifically, I learned how to not procrastinate and to do things right away. Instead of adding something to you to do list, do it right away. Secondly, I became motivated, inspired, and encouraged. My mentors have résumés that are very impressive, which inspires me to add to my own. I’ve gotten more involved in activities outside of my regular job duties. I’ve been to 15 conferences and events, received six awards and grants, made nine formal presentations, and have been actively involved in four committees within the past five years. Thirdly, I gained confidence. With the praise and guidance I received from my mentors, I became more confident in my work and can now do things quicker and more efficiently without second guessing myself and without having to check on everything. It’s now easier to step outside of my comfort zone. Lastly, I gained knowledge and learned how to get things done faster. My mentor teaches me new skills, provides advice, and keeps me informed. With a mentor, you learn from another person’s vision, experience, and education.

I encourage you to find a mentor or mentee and maybe even start a mentoring program. Make sure you find a good mentor: one who is likeable, trustworthy, and honest. They must be good at their job and smart. Also, you should make sure you’re a good mentee. One who is easygoing and flexible and will consider doing anything your mentor encourages you to do. You should be reliable, listen carefully and take notes, and always try your best. Take your mentor or mentee to lunch or coffee and exchange personal profiles or resumes. As counselors or advisors, you already know how to mentor. Learn how you can utilize your proficiencies to benefit other individuals besides students to develop and empower your staff, build professional relationships with them, and gain new knowledge.