Case Study: “The curious case of eager participants gone AWOL"

The Women in Transport Mentoring Program aims to empower and retain women in the industry, offering opportunities to level the playing field and foster inclusivity for all minorities. This article is a guide for mentors when their partners in the Women in Transport Mentoring Program do not engage despite concerted efforts:

Background: Our mentoring program, valued at over $600 per participant, focuses on professional growth and development. However, we've encountered instances where participants, initially enthusiastic, become Missing in Action (MIA) after signing up for the program and being matched with mentors.

Situation: Sarah, a keen participant, joined the program to explore personal and professional growth. She was matched with Jane, her mentor, who reached out but received no response from Sarah.

Challenges:

  • Jane pondered if Sarah lacked the time for meetings.
  • Despite invitations to program events, Sarah showed no interest.
  • Jane persistently reached out and eventually scheduled a coffee meeting.
  • Sarah contemplated pausing the program but decided to continue.
  • Jane expected Sarah to take initiative for future meetings, but Sarah did not respond.

Resolution:

  • Jane eventually refrained from further efforts, perceiving it as a sign of immaturity or lack of commitment on Sarah's part.

Message for Future Participants:

  • If enthusiasm wanes due to time constraints, early communication is essential.
  • Consider offering your spot to another mentee.
  • Don't waste a motivated mentor's time with tardiness and disengagement.

Advice for Future Mentoring Partners:

  1. Initiate contact with your partner immediately upon being matched.
  2. Build rapport gradually by having an initial chat before delving into career goals.
  3. Allocate time in your schedule for program activities, pre-work, and events.
  4. Recognise the program's value and invest time and effort for professional growth.
  5. Encourage employer support for program events and communicate expectations with your team.
  6. Advocate your program participation and event attendance to your manager for individual and organisational benefits.
  7. Prioritise attendance at the program launch for a successful program experience.

Conclusion: While our program is free for participants, its true value lies in the professional growth it offers. Both mentors and mentees must commit and actively engage to maximise this valuable opportunity. Employers and mentors play crucial roles in supporting and encouraging participants to ensure the program's success.

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