For ten years, MentHER has been connecting and empowering women at CBE, local high schools and the business community. This year, the mentorship program will look somewhat different but still promises to deliver on its mission.
In this unique program that gives back to the community, CBE women are paired with a mentor from the industry. The CBE mentees give back by mentoring students at Randallstown High School. Both the high school and TU students learn financial literacy, career planning and life and workplace skills by working with mentors. Last year, MentHER had its largest cohort with 22 TU students. This year, 23 are interested so far.
Like other campus events, MentHER will operate virtually for the first time this year. But, in addition to the changes prompted by COVID-19, MentHER’s new director, Professional Development Partner (PDP) Lauren Tigue-Meredith, has implemented new goals, activities and metrics to create measurable outcomes for all three levels of participation.
“The SMART goal scorecard is going to give everyone a clear direction on what they are trying to accomplish,” said Tigue-Meredith.
“By the end of the program, participants at each level will be able to reflect on the value of the program.”
Upon entering the program, mentees will rank their knowledge on topics related to financial literacy, career planning and life and workplace skills. Based on their scores, the mentee will define several areas in which they need improvement.
“TU students participating will have the opportunity to both be a mentee and mentor…That’s what life looks like in the real world.”
“This framework helps serve both TU students and the industry women,” says Tigue-Meredith. “With measurable outcomes, mentees can walk away with a sense of how much they’ve accomplished, and mentors will have a clear understanding of the impact their time made.”
“All participants gain something from this program. TU students participating will have the opportunity to both be a mentee and mentor,” says Tigue-Meredith. “That’s what life looks like in the real world.”
Tigue-Meredith emphasizes the value of the multi-generational relationships that the MentHER program cultivates. This is an important life skill, she says, for young women to realize they can “play with the big girls.”
“I always give the example of my four-year-old daughter learning the monkey bars. She would see an older girl doing the monkey bars, approach the girl, and say, ‘Hi, my name is Beatrice, and I would like to learn the monkey bars.’ Many times, the girls would say, ‘No, I’m eight, you’re four.’ But occasionally, a girl would say, ‘Alright, put your hand here.'”
“The business world is a new playground. Who are you going to be? Are you going to be the older girl who says, ‘What are you doing here?’ Or, are you going to be the girl who says, ‘Alright, come along?'”
Women must work to “unlearn the rules of the playground,” Tigue-Meredith says. Those rules don’t exist – if you want to hang with those who are older or more successful, find a way to do it.
Even though hosting a mentor program in the virtual environment poses some challenges, it also creates more opportunities.
“There’s something to be said for the women working in industry that want to participate more but may not have been able to in the past due to busy workdays or their location,” explains Tigue-Meredith. “Now, instead of having to commute to campus and find parking, they can join a Zoom meeting and share content more easily. It’s an opportunity for us to connect more.”
Don’t miss the upcoming MentHER program dates:
Student Virtual Info Sessions – Sept. 10 and 17
Mentor Info Sessions – Sept. 9 and 16
MentHER Match Night – Oct. 6
For more information, contact Lauren Tigue-Meredith – firstname.lastname@example.org