The aim of this panel presentation is to explore the experience of expert mentors after one year of partnership with a chosen mentee from another global region. Mentors perspectives and vision for sustaining the mentoring processes will be explored.
Method: All 12 mentors were invited to express their views on the successes and challenges of the process and any identified culturally significant issues that may help future mentors should the program expand. Five of the total twelve mentors responded to the request. The data were analyzed using a thematic analysis identifying a number of themes. Additional surveys are planned for the end of the year.
Findings: Successes varied depending on the agreed objectives of each pair. Overwhelmingly, mentors seemed to feel they gained an excellent relationship with their mentee, witnessing their growth as a leader of either research, teaching or of their workforce. In addition to having some fun, seeing their mentee shape their leadership and become focused, achieve significant milestones in their research and seek their own solutions from the complex problems that they have faced were identified as the main successes. Challenges included synchronizing the time difference to ‘meet’, recognizing their commonalities and potential opportunities to collaborate, keeping the spirits high to maintain motivation and recognizing their lack of clear of objectives at the outset. All mentors acknowledged the need to agree on clear objectives at the outset to maintain the commitment to each other and recognized the limitations of a one year trajectory. Whilst not all participants used a recognized leadership model for their mentoring, they all acknowledged the need to support their mentee in a solutions focused outcome. There were no clearly identified cultural differences experienced during the year long relationship.
Conclusion: The data collected to date illustrate that there were gains on both sides. Mentors recognized the need to set ground rules and clear objectives at the outset to maximize the returns, though acknowledged that being limited to the one year relationship restricted what could be achieved in the time. All achieved some sense of satisfaction in their role and experienced gains in witnessing growth in their mentee’s leadership.