UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The right mentoring relationship can be a powerful tool for professional growth — it can lead to a new job, a promotion, or even a better work-life balance. What does it take to be a great mentor or mentee? How do mentees find mentors to meet their career goals?
The next event in the School of Public Policy's monthly professional development series, "Strategies for Career and Leadership Success," will address the power of mentoring relationships at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Since June 2020, the professional development series has been helping students, recent graduates, and current professionals develop career and leadership skills related to interviewing, professional presence, and how to maximize the internship experience, learn to build organizational relationships, and more.
The Nov. 11 mentoring session will be led by 2013 Penn State alumnus Jeremy O’Mard, who earned his bachelor’s degree in management information systems with a minor in operations and supply chain management. He is a managing consultant in the Managed Services and Cloud Solutions Practice of IBM Global Business Services. He has worked with commercial, state government, and federal government agencies, serving in both technical and operational roles.
During the event, O’Mard will discuss the mentorship process from mentor and mentee perspectives, provide advice for identifying a mentor, and strategies for making the relationship work.
O’Mard said his involvement with mentoring began when he joined the FastStart Mentorship Program during his senior year at Penn State. FastStart typically matches first-year students from underrepresented backgrounds with a faculty/staff mentor and a Penn State alumni mentor. The program is designed to help students flourish in their new environment by answering questions, directing students to resources, offering support and wisdom, and providing informal networks for career development.
“I remember the many lessons that I learned during the first half of my college career and thought it would be great if I could help incoming students navigate the college landscape, especially students from underrepresented communities or disadvantaged backgrounds,” said O’Mard. “My first stint as a mentor was an eye-opening and enriching experience, and it was great to know that my mentee was able to apply some of the tips that I provided.”
After graduating, O’Mard continued to serve as a mentor in the FastStart program. He says he enjoyed both teaching and learning from his mentees and consequently became involved as both a mentor and a mentee at IBM.
“Ironically, one of my mentees [at IBM] is a student at Penn State,” he said. “I can honestly say that I have learned a lot, personally and professionally, serving as both a mentor and a mentee, and I would encourage others to get involved with mentoring.”
The upcoming conversation will be held via Zoom and consist of a brief interview followed by questions from the audience. Participants will have the option to ask questions during the live discussion or by email in advance of the presentation to email@example.com.
For more information about the series and to RSVP for the Nov. 11 session, visit publicpolicy.psu.edu/careerstrategies. A Zoom link will be sent to all registrants in advance of the event.