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UCOP Mentorship Program initiates matchmaking process

Lively conversations filled the room, and all chairs had been conspicuously removed. Participants rotated through 12 stations for brief but animated exchanges with prospective partners. A shrill whistle pierced through the din every four minutes as a signal to switch to the next station.

No, speed dating has not come to UCOP. It was the Mentorship Program’s April 4 reception and mixer, designed to help mentors and mentees mix and mingle and find the best fit for a mentor-mentee relationship.

The matchmaking process is the critical first step in pairing two individuals—one junior staff person and one senior—who will work together in the coming year to personalize professional development and boost connectivity throughout the entire UCOP community.

The program launched in February, taking mentee applications from career employees in job classifications PSS 1 through 5 with at least two years of OP experience. Of 29 applicants, 20 were accepted into the program.

Mentors include 21 senior staff as well as members of the program’s steering committee, who represent UCOP’s top leadership. All mentors made their resumes available to help mentees find the best individual to meet their personal professional development and coaching goals.

“Engagement and enthusiasm from both mentees and mentors  has been beyond our expectations,” said Dwaine Duckett, human resources vice president, who implemented the program. “I wish we could have accepted everyone who applied, but we needed to keep the program manageable in this, its pilot year. We do plan to expand the program in future years and broaden eligibility.”

Each mentee will next contact their top two or three mentor picks for an informal interview, and final pairings will be made by the program steering committee in May.

Each pair will negotiate an agreement for a one-year relationship of one-on-one meetings, coaching sessions and whatever other activities meet their mutually established goals and objectives.

Throughout the year pairs will continue to receive support and will evaluate their experience at specific intervals and at yearend. The program will have far-reaching effects on the entire community, helping to cultivate a more cohesive community throughout UCOP, Duckett said.

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