Personal Career Planning at Work in Culture’s Roundtable on Mentoring

I was pleased to be invited to make a short presentation about Personal Career Planning at last week’s Work in Culture roundtable on mentoring.

The roundtable kicked off with Don Duval, VP, Business Services at MaRS who wow’d us with his overview of the mentoring program at MaRS. Don gave us lots of candid details about the philosophy and processes they are using at MaRS to create a really successful mentoring program. How successful? They interviewed 500 candidates and selected about 120. They have to be doing a lot of the right things to have prospective mentors lining-up to get into the program.

Great takeaways from Don too. Mentors say that their reasons for mentoring are: to give back, networking, and to raise their own profile in the community. This last one surprised me (but shouldn’t have!). Don’s solutions included quoting mentors in communications about the program and about the mentees. Simple and you don’t need a MaRS-sized budget to implement.

In my own presentation about Personal Career Planning, I started with an overview of the data we have about what association members want from a professional development program (in this case at Professional Association of Canadian Theatres) and how we compared it to what their “purchasing” behaviour told us. Contrasting the data, led PACT to revise it’s program substantially.

Introducing Personal Career Planning has been key to serving a very diverse population of arts managers. It’s a personalized approach which puts the individual in charge of their own career development — great for a sector with few H.R. professionals but lots of entrepreneurs! We use peer coaching in the workshops which helps to reduce the feeling of isolation that arts managers often feel AND learning some basic peer coaching skills gives each participant a very practical tool to take back to the office. At the end of the workshop, each participant has the beginnings of a personal career plan and the tools to update it as their careers progress.

There were lots of questions about Personal Career Planning and for the other interesting presentations from Hot Docs, Magazines Canada and WIFT.

I was sorry to run off at 4:00. I missed my reward of a glass of wine on Work in Culture. Maybe next time!

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