WoWE Mentoring Program Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of the regular questions about WoWE's mentoring program here. If you don't find your question feel free to e-mail us mentoring@womenofwindenergy.org

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2014 WoWE Mentoring Webinar:
Will you be my Mentor? Strategies, Benefits, and Opportunities within the WoWE Mentoring Program 

 


Mentoring Program List of FAQs
Why create a mentoring program for women in the wind energy industry?
Who can participate?
How do I join?
How should I fill out my profile if I want to be a mentor?
How does the WoWE Mentoring Program work?
How do I search for a Mentor?
How does a mentoring partnership get started?
What are the roles and responsibilities of being a Mentee or Mentor?
Why be a Mentee?
Why be a Mentor?
How much experience do I need to be a mentor?
Can I be both a Mentor and Mentee?
Can I have more than one Mentor or Mentee?
How will WoWE ensure confidentiality?
What is the time commitment? How long will I be in the program?
Is there a cost to join?
Can I join this program as a way to find a job in the wind energy industry?
Do Mentors and Mentees need to be in the same city/state?
How do mentors and mentees get matched?
Who are the Mentoring Ambassadors?
I was involved in the mentoring program in the past, what has changed? 

 


1. Why create a mentoring program for women in the renewable energy field?

WoWE hopes to encourage participants to:

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2. Who can participate?

WoWE encourages participants at any career stage from student, or job seeker, to CEO. Both women and men of all backgrounds are welcome in the program. Although the program was designed with women in mind, WoWE recognizes the important role of men in supporting WoWE’s mission and the unique perspectives men can bring to a mentoring partnership. Men are welcome to participate in the program as Mentors and/or Mentees.
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3. How do I join?
If you are interested in participating in the program, please follow these simple steps:

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4. 
How should I fill out my profile if I want to be a mentor?
When you create your profile in the Member Center, you can click the box saying “I am currently available to be a mentor.”  You can also add information about your availability, your background, and topics you would be interested in working through with a mentee. Time commitment options are covered in "Preferred Mentoring Frequency" and "Preferred Mentoring Duration.” Please only sign-up to be a mentor if you can realistically fulfill your time comment and obligations to being a mentor.  Mentoring topics are covered in "Mentoring Topics." Add a short biography or upload your resume so that potential mentees can learn more about you. The figure below shows the Mentor Info options available through the Member Center.



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5. 
How does the WoWE Mentoring Program work?
The program is driven by the participants with support from WoWE Mentoring Ambassadors and the Mentoring Committee. The Mentee typically initiates the  mentoring partnership by searching for and contacting a potential mentor. The program is flexible to accommodate a variety of time commitments and mentoring objectives, so the structure of the program will vary with each mentoring partnership. However, the fives steps below are typically followed for a long-term mentoring partnership. For shorter mentoring partnerships, such as a single informational interview, we recommend that these steps be adapted as necessary.  More detailed information and support for each step is provided in the Member Center and through the Mentoring Program.

An interested mentoring participant can register with WoWE by completing a registration form available on the WoWE website and in the Member Center. Registration gets the process started and a WoWE Mentoring Ambassador will reach out to check in and offer help navigating the matching process and once a match is made the ambassador will continue to check in with the mentoring partnership and provide information and mentoring tips as well as suggesting discussion topics. This also allows WoWE to track participation in the program and make improvements.

This step begins with a mentee searching for a mentor in the Member Center. Upon finding a potential mentor, the mentee will contact that person to determine if the mentor and mentee would make a good match. In this step the mentor and mentee will learn more about each other and discuss whether or not to pursue a mentoring partnership.  Not all mentoring relationships are 1 on 1, sometimes there may be a group of mentees interested in meeting with a single mentor, or possibly a group of peers interested in meeting together to swap skills and share expertise.

For a successful and productive mentoring partnership, it is important to define and agree upon the expectations of the partnership early. In this step the mentor and mentee or group members will clearly define the time commitment, confidentiality of the partnership, and set up a communication plan. Expectations should be set in the first or second meeting of the partnership.

The purpose of this step it to provide the mentoring partnership with a direction and a focus that will meet the mentee’s objectives. This is a joint effort between the mentee and mentor or all members of the partnership. It should be based on the goals and objectives of the mentee(s). 

During this final and on-going step the mentor and mentee will work on the goals and actions established in Step 4. The mentor and mentee will continue to be in contact to the level agreed upon when expectations were set in Step 2. If necessary, the expectations or commitments can be redefined and communicated within the mentoring partnership. Also, periodically the WoWE Mentoring Committee will offer some discussion suggestions and topics as well as ask for your feedback. We appreciate your participation to help us to continually improve the mentoring program.

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6. How do I search for a Mentor?
Mentees can find mentors using the Advanced Directory Search tool located in the "My WoWE" menu in the Member Center. Scroll thru the Criteria drop down menu until you can select “mentor status”. Set the middle drop down menu to “Equal” and then select "I am currently available to be a mentor" from the last drop down menu. The results will include anyone in the member directory who has said she/he is available to be a mentor.

You can also add additional criteria when using the Advanced Directory Search tool to narrow down your list of potential mentors.  Some things to consider adding to your search include: sector, mentoring frequency (if a potential mentor is only available for informational interviews and you are hoping for a phone call every week that won't be a good fit), or location (you can search by city, state, or chapter if you are interested in working with someone close by).
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7. How does a mentoring partnership get started?
The WoWE program is "Mentee-driven" so it begins once the mentee has found a mentor in the member center directory who may be a good match.  The Mentee initiates contact by reaching out to the potential mentor with an email or a message through the WoWE Member Center.  This email/message should include some of the reasons that this could be a good match and suggest some times to discuss further.  Once the Mentor and Mentee have had a conversation about availabity and goals and have agreed that they would like to work together there is a registration form in the member center to submit to officially register the partnership with WoWE.
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8. What are the roles and responsibilities of being a Mentee or Mentor?
Each mentoring partnership is as unique as the individuals involved in it. However, no matter who the individuals are or what shape the partnership takes, helping candidates understand the program and what the expectations are for their roles and responsibilities creates a stronger and more productive partnership. Of utmost importance is to be committed to the process and shared goals and to always be open and honest with your mentoring partner about your availability. Below are additional points Mentors and Mentees should consider.
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9. 
Why be a Mentee?
Being a Mentee allows you the opportunity to tap into the experience and learning of professionals already in the renewable energy field.  
Other benefits include:

Mentee role and responsibilities:
WoWE Expects that mentee's will exhibit the following charactersitics to help facilitate a productive mentoring partnership:

Qualities in a Mentee

Responsibilities of a Mentee

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10. Why be a Mentor?

While Mentees usually participate in mentoring for one or two basic reasons, the reasons for Mentors wanting to do so are more numerous and varied. They may include: 

Mentor role and responsibilities:
As with Mentees, WoWE expects that mentors will also exhibit the following characteristics to help facilitate a productive mentoring partnership. 

Qualities in a Mentor

Responsibilities of a Mentor

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11. How much experience do I need to be a mentor?
The experience level of mentors varies. Many mentees are just out of college or looking to start a new career in the renewable energy field and just a couple of years of experience are very valuable for providing guidance. In some cases, a mentor who has recently entered the industry is in the perfect positions to guide a new entrant. We encourage mentors of all experience levels; be sure to describe your experience in your Member Center profile. Remember you can be a mentor and a mentee. 
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12. Can I be both a Mentor and Mentee?
Yes! We encourage anyone interested in serving in both capacities to do so, however, please make sure that you can commit to the agreed upon time commitments with your Mentor and/or Mentee.
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13. Can I have more than one Mentor or Mentee?
 Yes, of course, but PLEASE make sure you can meet the agreed upon time commitments with your mentors/mentees.
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14. How will WoWE ensure confidentiality?

WoWE understands that with a program of this nature, confidentiality is a concern. Each mentoring partnership will define for itself what the nature of their mentoring partnership will be, including what types of information will generally be discussed.  If either mentor or mentee has a concern about confidentiality regarding certain matters that will or may be discussed during the mentoring partnership, we strongly recommend that those concerns should be clearly identified, discussed, and resolved as soon as possible at the outset of the mentoring partnership with your mentoring partner.  We strongly recommend having a conversation with your mentor/mentee up front to clearly define expectations. Things we strongly recommend you discuss at the outset of the mentoring partnership, whether or not either mentoring partner possesses immediate concerns, are as follows:  (1) what, exactly, will constitute “confidential information”, and what the exceptions are; (2) with whom, exactly, may confidential information be shared without the recipient mentoring partner obtaining further permission/consent for such disclosure to particular third parties from the mentoring partner who provided the confidential information; (3) for what specific purpose may the confidential information be used; and (4) the term for which the confidential information must be kept confidential.  We emphasize that the burden is on you and your mentoring partner to establish these parameters.

From an overall program standpoint, your contact information is given to the Mentoring Committee and Mentoring Ambassadors so that they can check in occasionally and provide you information about the program. Occasionally you may be asked to take a survey about the mentoring program; the results of the surveys are anonymous and disconnected from submission emails which are sometimes retained in the case of giving out gifts for completing the survey, etc.

Through the WoWE Member Center, you can control what information about you is available to other WoWE members - each line of your profile can be kept private or not. Information in the Member Center can only be accessed by other WoWE members and WoWE staff. 
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15. What is the time commitment? How often do you get together with your Mentor? How long will I be in the program?

The time commitment is mutually determined by the mentor and mentee. The mentee should determine what level of commitment is needed from the mentor in order to meet their goals for a mentoring partnership. The mentee can then search for a mentor who is able to meet that time commitment. The mentor will specify the length of a mentoring partnership that s/he is able to commit to in her/his Member Center profile.

Many mentor/mentee pairs spend several minutes each week exchanging an email or two, while others take time for weekly or monthly calls. You can spend as much time or as little time as you feel comfortable. The important thing is to set clear expectations with your mentoring partner.

Mentors can specify their time commitment preferences on their profile in the Member Center. 

In a mentor’s profile, s/he can select:

Preferred Mentoring Duration

 

Preferred Mentoring Frequency

 

If you no longer can fulfill your time commitment, please contact your Mentoring Ambassador.
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16. Is there a cost to join?
We do ask all participants to be paid members of WoWE which requires a minimum annual contribution of $35, there is no additional fee to participate in the mentoring program. We only ask that you donate your time and energy! 
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17. Can I join this program as a way to find a job in the wind energy industry?
The purpose of this program is not an employment or job-posting venue. We are offering this program to those who already work in or are interested in working in some sector of the renewable energy field. The goals of the mentee that are developed by the Mentor and Mentee in the mentoring partnership will cover many components, and job-hunting advice may be one. 
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18. Do Mentors and Mentees need to be in the same city/state?
No. Our program is designed for long-distance mentoring partnerships. We know that it is often not feasible for a Mentee to find a Mentor in their geographic area; although you can search the member directory by the mentor’s location if it is an important aspect for you. 
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19. How do mentors and mentees get matched?
Typically a mentee will search for a mentor through the Member Center. [Upon finding a potential mentor the mentee will contact that person to determine if the mentor and mentee would make a good match.

The WoWE program is "Mentee-driven" so it begins once the mentee has found a mentor or two in the member center directory who may be a good match.  The Mentee initiates contact by reaching out to the potential mentor with an email or a message through the WoWE Member Center.  This email/message should include some of the reasons that this could be a good match and suggest some times to discuss further.  Once the Mentor and Mentee have had a conversation about availabity and goals and have agreed that they would like to work together there is a registration form in the member center to submit to officially register the partnership with WoWE.
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20. Who are the Mentoring Ambassadors?
As more and more people have become involved in the WoWE Mentoring program, the Mentoring Committee has been collecting feedback and looking for ways to improve the program and the process.  As part of the new system using the WoWE Member Center, new mentors/mentees will be matched with a mentoring ambassador as soon as they submit a program registration form to let us know they are getting started.  These ambassadors will serve as an additional resources and communication link to help support participants and check-in throughout the partnership to be sure things are going smoothly.  Ambassadors will also be available to help with any questions about the program before getting started and in matching. 
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21. I was involved in the mentoring program in the past, what has changed?
In May of 2011, the WoWE mentoring program was launched through the WoWE website and the Member center. Here is a list of the main changes:

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MORE QUESTIONS?
Contact the WoWE Mentoring Program at mentoring@womenofwindenergy.org