3CMA Connect - Member Mentorship

Background

One of the greatest benefits of being a 3CMA member is the opportunity to network, share, and learn from others in the profession. The organization provides many opportunities for those experiences to take place, from events at the annual and regional conferences, to the Member’s Only Facebook page, to the Resource Repository on the 3CMA website, to the recently implemented Candid Community Conversations, an online communication forum for members. 

While informal mentoring has taken place since its inception, in 2020 3CMA President Patty Prince recommended creating a formal mentoring program to further expand the opportunity for members to learn from each other. This program is a direct result of that direction, with support and input from members and the 3CMA Board of Directors.

Benefits of a Mentorship Program

A successful mentorship program provides opportunities for mentees including:

  • One-on-one discussions with, and access to, a 3CMA member with experience in the topics and strategies that can help a mentee grow and develop in the profession.
  • Having a sounding board, outside perspective, and strategic counsel for challenging workplace issues.
  • The opportunity to identify both short-term and long-term solutions to workplace/project challenges.
  • Building a meaningful mentor/mentee relationship.

A successful mentorship program provides opportunities for mentors including:

  • Assisting mentees and members who are new to the profession in growing their skills and abilities.
  • An opportunity to give back to the profession and organization.
  • Learning from mentees and gaining a new approach and understanding – seeing with “new eyes.”
  • Building a meaningful mentor/mentee relationship.

Eligibility Requirements

  • All mentees and mentors must be members of 3CMA in good standing.
  • Must serve in a position in local government that involves some aspects of marketing and communication (not by job title, but involvement in these activities).
  • All mentees and mentors must complete an online application.

Application and Mentorship Process

  • Mentors and mentees may register to serve at any time.
  • The applications will remain in the 3CMA database.
  • Mentors and mentees will be matched based on such factors as mutual areas of interest, community size, geographic location, etc.
  • The assignment is made by 3CMA, with emails sent to each mentor and mentee, with a request to make initial contact within 30 days.
  • Mentors and mentees can establish their own meeting schedules, with meetings (phone calls, Zoom, coffee, etc.) recommended a minimum of once each month. Ideally, meetings would take place two to three times per month.

3CMA Mentorship Program Code of Ethics

Participants in the 3CMA Mentorship Program agree to:

  • Treat others within the Mentorship Program with respect.
  • Protect the confidentiality of information shared.
  • Not accept any fees or commissions.
  • Be honest and accountable in all interactions.
  • Recognize the diversity of the Mentorship Program and respect the variety of cultural norms, beliefs, practices, and values it contains.
  • Assist with ideas, feedback, strategies, and support that further the opportunity for resident engagement, involvement, and interaction that is authentic and a positive representation for local government.

Roles as Mentors

Your goal is to be a resource to a member and to build a trusting relationship where you can help with feedback, strategy, and career development. Mentoring is providing two-way communication where your role is not to direct the mentee, but rather to help the mentee discover his/her own best way to address the challenges and opportunities before them. Serving as a mentor is a commitment that requires you to take the time to get to know your mentee and hold regular mentoring calls/sessions.

Important Guidelines for Mentors:

  • Be positive and encouraging
  • Encourage your mentee to ask a lot of questions and to know that all questions are valued and respected.
  • Ask your mentee to help you understand how they like to receive information. Ask how to best meet their needs, while still giving them the chance to grow and develop at their own pace.
  • Share experiences and stories from your career that can help the mentee to see they are not alone in their experiences and to see ways to persevere.
  • Adapt strategies to the mentees’ reality – you may have been able to implement a program because you had a supportive boss, which may not be the case for your mentee.
  • Share praise and support for your mentee’s successes.
  • Respect the confidentiality and the trust your mentee has placed in you.
  • Avoid taking over the issue and providing your own solutions. Instead, work to listen, coach, model, and teach. Ask more questions.
  • Be positive and open to learning as much from your mentee as possible.
  • Make mentoring fun.
  • Commit your time to make this relationship a success.

Roles as Mentees

This is your opportunity to not only have a strong sounding board to run ideas by, but also to benefit from a professional who has experiences that can help you in your work and professional growth. Take the initiative to contact your mentor regularly to share challenges and successes. 

Important Guidelines for Mentees

  • Prepare for meetings with your mentor by organizing or writing down the challenges you want to discuss to help keep your mentoring sessions productive.
  • Accept advice while also recognizing that you ultimately know your community and your leadership best and need to make your own decisions.
  • Ask questions to ensure you understand the advice being shared; find ways to apply learning lessons to your work and community.
  • Be positive, honest, and open.
  • Respect the confidentiality of information your mentor shares with you.
  • Always share your own perspective and ideas, as your mentor is certain to learn from you in addition to providing helpful advice.
  • Make mentoring fun.
  • Take responsibility for initiating and maintaining contact with your mentor.