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WISE Los Angeles Opens Applications for Signature WISE Within Mentorship Program

  

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN

Click here to apply before May 15!

Estimated time to complete: 20-25 minutes

The path to career growth for women in sports and events is far from clear cut. Maybe you’ve heard the contradictory messaging before. Does this sound familiar? Be aggressive, but not bossy. Speak up for yourself, but don’t be annoying. Prioritize your family, but don’t miss a deadline. Ask for more, but don’t price yourself out. 

We know that’s barely scratching the surface; understanding the nuances of each professional situation and gaining the confidence to propel your career can be head-spinning. Today’s global uncertainty and unpredictable marketplace stressors aren’t making things any easier. That’s where mentoring can play a crucial role in your professional development. Succeeding in today’s marketplace isn’t solely about developing technical skills, but about remaining resilient and creative so you can thrive amidst massive shifts in the world around us. 

WISE Within encapsulates all things mentorship across WISE organization. This year there are more options to help address mentorship goals including the continuation of a guided mentorship program by the Los Angeles chapter and a new Mentor Match program by WISE National. 

The WISE Los Angeles chapter offers a signature mentorship program designed to address the common issues women face in their sports and events industry careers. The customized, hand-matching process thoughtfully connects professional women with mentors in their field to help them lean on the experience of those who have walked the path before. After all, it takes a village.

Curious about how WISE Within works and what it could mean for your career? Our Communications Committee Member Jolene Latimer caught up with Andrea DeHart, Director of Mentorship for WISE Los Angeles, to learn more. 

WISE LA: What role has mentorship played in your own career?

DeHart: Mentorship can be your personalized road map to accomplishing what you set out to do or formulating what your next career steps could be. There's always strength in adding people's experience to what's in your own toolbox. 

Most of my mentoring has been informal. Early on, connecting with women in WISE really helped formulate how I could frame what professional goals for that stage in my career and what important pieces of my story would quickly communicate how someone could help me. 

For example, when I initially joined WISE I was a new people manager in my role. Even the first conversations helped me get recommendations of how to walk into a feedback session with somebody or advocate for a project I wanted to be involved with. 


WISE LA: WISE Within takes a formal approach to mentoring. How does the process work?

DeHart: New this year we have two distinct mentoring options available for mentees. On a national level, WISE has rolled out a country-wide mentorship program that matches mentees and mentors across all regions based on their interests and backgrounds. These can be for one-off coffee chats up to three month long mentor-mentee relationships. 

On a local level, we’re continuing our successful WISE Within Los Angeles program, which takes a customized approach to individual matching. After mentees apply for a spot in the program, we'll follow up with a personal interview to get to the core of what someone would need in a matched mentor relationship. We want to make sure it's a very personal experience, customized to what someone needs professionally and also personally or based on the industry. Whatever their nuances are. 

There is a lot of time put toward discussing what someone's goals are and how our network of accomplished WISE members and executive-level contacts can play a role. 

We then discuss each individual applicant and their goals with our Board of Directors to make sure we've got the absolute best connections. 

The committee directs a lot of that process and the board amplifies that with any additional contacts and ideas. That's worked really well as this built up to one of the largest mentoring cohorts in the entire country last year. Most importantly, we hear direct feedback from mentors and mentees about their experience from the program. 


WISE LA: Describe some of the goals mentees can work toward with their mentors in WISE Within Los Angeles.

DeHart: Mentees get to formulate their own goals based on their personal ambitions and career stages. In the past, people have wanted to navigate coming back from maternity leave, pursuing a promotion, or even developing presentation skills. We view the program as a process by which you can unlock your potential across many categories. 

For members who want to participate but need inspiration in clarifying their goal for this program, I would recommend for someone to take an early look at the application and see if the questions inspire specific ideas to help them formulate their goals. Or, applicants can use other developmental tools, such as journaling, to help gain personal insight into what they're looking to do over the next six months.

The process of applying can genuinely help many applicants develop their goals. While not everyone who applies is accepted, focusing on the process is helpful because it can prompt you to discover what your goals will be for the coming year and potentially the next application cycle. Alternatively, it could help you identify opportunities for mentorship within the national WISE mentorship track.


WISE LA: What is the career level of a typical mentee?

DeHart: It can really range. We've had vice president-level women who have something very specific they want to accomplish and we've been able to make matches across varying levels. We suggest at least four years of professional, full-time experience to ensure someone has plenty of context to get the most out of their mentor-mentee relationship. 

WISE LA: What is the expected time commitment for mentees?

DeHart: We definitely lean on this being mentee driven. The mentee should do most of the scheduling, determine what works best for them and their mentor, and lead what they'd like to cover from one call to the next. 

We believe the mentee will get the most out of the relationship if they're proactive. The program specific touchpoints include a meetup once a month with their own mentor, in-person or virtual, and attend three group events with the entire WISE Within Los Angeles class. Those will allow them to engage with mentees and mentors outside of their own pairing. 


WISE LA: How personal does mentoring get? Is it like therapy?

DeHart: While a mentorship relationship can be personal and address the crossover of professional and personal demands, we encourage all involved to be emotionally ready for a professional conversation. 

On the other hand, a therapy relationship requires necessary training that's best handled by medical professionals. While we believe in the importance of therapy, mentorship is a different type of relationship with a different purpose. Mentoring is about leaning on the wisdom of someone who has experienced similar professional challenges and roadblocks so you can find the best opportunities for your future goals. 

In a mentor-mentee relationship, you’re connecting with an experienced  leader in your industry. This requires an amount of professionalism and emotional readiness that you might not necessarily bring into a therapeutic relationship. We hope mentees treat it with the same professionalism they bring to our networking events. 


WISE LA: What’s new about WISE Within this year?

DeHart: There are two exciting WISE Within developments this year. First, we are getting back to doing in-person events for the local guided program. As long as it is safe to do so, we look forward to seeing people face-to-face. 

Also, this year there are two distinct WISE Within opportunities. Our local chapter will continue our six-month, personally-matched program. Concurrently, the national organization is launching a Mentor Match program that connects women from all over the country using their matching questionnaire. 


WISE LA: What is the cost of WISE Within?

DeHart: There is no cost to mentees, we welcome WISE Los Angeles and WISE Orange County Members to apply and not have barriers around the ability to participate. There may be small costs associated with getting to an event, such as parking, but we look for it to be as inclusive as possible. 


WISE LA: Is formal mentoring the only way for young professionals to have these learning experiences?

DeHart: Mentorship can take so many different forms. It can be a peer. It could be people who you'd be surprised are more than willing to help. I've got great mentor advice from people who have also challenged me on professional projects. It's around every corner. It's more present than you would think, so don't back down from trying to find something. 


Questions about WISE Within Los Angeles? 

Email la_wisewithin@wiseworks.org. Applications for the 2022 cohort close on May 15. 

Please click here to complete the WISE LA Application.


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