Overview: The Mentoring Program evolved from a joint pilot program conducted by the Diversity Task Force, Women in Project Controls Committee and the Young Professionals Committee in 2010. Building upon the initial success of the pilot, the AACE Mentoring Program employs a self-guided model that has gained wide acceptance among professional associations sponsoring mentoring programs.
After researching current trends within technically-oriented professional associations, AACE concluded that training and ongoing support of the mentoring teams may be the most important variable in determining the success of a mentoring partnership. We structured our mentoring program based upon best practices within the association community but we also customized selected resources to be more accessible and relevant to our members and the total cost management profession.
AACE International entered into a partnership with the Center for Coaching & Mentoring, Inc. to provide the assessment and training resources such as the mentoring handbook to support mentors and mentees/partners. AACE also engaged Boxwood Technologies to adapt their matching and administrative system that facilitates the self-guided selection process. Boxwood Technologies is the leading provider of career center and e-mentoring software programs to the association community.
Online Orientation Presentation: To familiarize AACE members and stakeholders with what mentoring means in a professional association environment, AACE International release of an online orientation program in May 2011. The web-based orientation presentation explains the respective and complementary roles of the mentor and mentee. The online orientation outlines the expectations as delineated in the Mentoring Agreement that both parties must enter into at the outset of the AACE mentoring program. The mentoring orientation may be reviewed here.
Registering to Be A Mentor or Mentee/Partner: Once a potential mentor or mentee/partner has reviewed the online orientation program and familiarized themselves with AACE’s Mentoring Program principles, an individual may self-nominate to become a mentor or mentee/partner candidate. Individuals may complete the biographical and professional data forms online on the Career Center. The Boxwood Technology software allows mentee/partners to search for potential mentors using a matching protocol configured for our purposes with criteria identified by the Mentoring Advisory Committee. The system allows individuals to attach technical papers, a resume and other pertinent information to aid in the matching of the mentor and partner. Click here to register as a mentor or mentee/partner.
Mentor Requirements: Prior to being approved to participate in the mentoring program, the candidate’s information is reviewed by the AACE staff to assure the applicants meet the minimum requirements for mentors established by the Mentoring Advisory Committee. These requirements include being a member in good standing of AACE International, having at least five years professional experience in cost engineering and/or total cost management, the willingness to devote at least two hours per month to mentoring and agreeing to abide by all the provisions of the mentoring agreement.
Mentoring Resources: If approved, the mentor and mentee/partner will receive a welcoming email with a link to the Mentoring Partner’s Handbook, a 64-page manual that provides step-by-step instructions on how to structure a successful mentoring relationship. The AACE Mentoring Partner’s Handbook represents collaboration between AACE International and the Center for Coaching & Mentoring, Inc. AACE has customized several resources developed by Dr. Matt Starcevich, Ph.D. to support AACE’s specific mentoring requirements and processes. Starcevich extensive experience organizing mentoring programs for major corporations and organizations, especially among the engineering and scientific community, was a major factor in being selected as our partner in this endeavor. The Handbook includes diagnostic tools designed to help the Mentor and Mentee/Partner assess their individual learning styles, communication preferences and other factors that impact the success of a mentoring relationship. The Handbook also provides tips on effective questioning, goal setting and self-evaluations designed to assess how the mentoring relationship is progressing. AACE will feature a series of articles on mentoring by Dr. Starcevich in the Cost Engineering journal as part of our campaign to raise awareness and encourage active participation in the mentoring process.
Mentoring Database: An approved Mentee/Partner may search the database of approved Mentors for a possible match. A potential mentor roster is displayed based upon professional interests, education, experience and other search criteria that match the needs of the Mentee/Partner conducting the search. The searching Mentee/Partner may request a mentoring engagement with an approved Mentor and arrange for an initial discussion regarding suitability for an engagement. The decision to enter into a mentoring agreement must be mutual. To track the process, the online system provides a “dashboard" view to show pending current mentoring relationships. AACE will provide periodic e-newsletters for those involved in the mentoring program that will feature ideas on how make the relationships even more productive.
Mentoring Program Agreement: Once the two mutually agree to form a mentoring partnership, they complete the AACE Mentoring Program Agreement defining their expectations of one another. This agreement printed in the Mentoring Handbook is customized based upon the conditions and expectations agreed to by both parties. These variables include the anticipated duration, frequency of contact and anticipated outcomes from the process. Once executed, the mentor and mentee/partner send the executed agreement to AACE headquarters. AACE staff updates the mentoring database to reflect that the two have formed a mentoring partnership. While a Mentor may accept more than one Mentee at a time, a Mentee/Partner may have only one Mentor.
Mentoring Program Benefits: To encourage Mentors and Mentees/Partners to participate in the program, AACE will grant approved Mentors who have completed at least a six month mentoring engagement in the previous twelve month’s one continuing education credit toward recertification, plus a discount for the Mentee/Partner to attend the AACE Annual Meeting beginning in 2012. The Mentoring Advisory Committee plans on sponsoring a special recognition activity for mentors and mentees/partners will be hosted at future Annual Meetings beginning in 2012.
The structured, self-guided mentoring program promises to be a great opportunity for AACE International to accelerate the growth of the next generation of Association leaders while increasing the diversity of our profession and membership. AACE has partnered with two leading organizations, the Center for Coaching and Mentoring and Boxwood Technologies, to create an exceptional support system for our mentoring program participants. We encourage AACE members to explore the mentoring orientation presentation now available online. We need all interested and qualified members to become actively involved to achieve this program’s full potential.