Archive for the ‘Mentors & Mentoring’ Category

New Approach to Mentoring Strengthens an Organization’s Culture

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

“Our Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ program brings mentors and mentees together through an approach that builds community and accountability. They learn from each other and from mentoring experts,” explains Lisa Z. Fain, CEO, Center for Mentoring Excellence. “MEMs is a great way for an organization to foster and benefit from a mentoring culture.”

The MEMs approach provides a separate forum for mentors, mentees and for the people who are responsible for their organization’s mentoring programs. Participants learn best practices from the group facilitator, who is a mentoring expert, as well as from each other, and their questions are answered in real time. They acquire new knowledge and skills that help them motivate and respond to their colleagues in a safe and confidential space. MEMs’ content and coaching is driven by the needs of the participants.

“To our knowledge, no one else has developed this kind of peer learning experience, giving mentors and mentees what they need when they need it,” notes Fain. The MEM is customized to the specific needs of each cohort.”

Every session is conducted by video conference that employees and participants can join wherever they are as long as they have internet access. If they cannot participate in the live session, they can access the video recording. They can also communicate with each other between sessions.

“Clients can become involved in several ways, whichever they choose. Purchase an entire Mastermind. Purchase a certain number of seats. Develop specific programs for mentors, mentees and administrators. Provide a forum for the people who are responsible for an organization’s mentoring program. The approach is tailored to a client’s specific needs,” Fain explains. “We want to help them create a community that remains accountable to each other after the MEM experience.”

The Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ program and video conference respond to another challenge: the growing need to reach an often remote workforce that is often geographically diverse.

Mentoring Excellence Masterminds™ was developed because “clients have told us that the Center’s programs are so valuable that they wish they could have access throughout the year. Now they can,” Fain says.

The MEMs help organizations create a mentoring culture in which ongoing community spirit and accountability ensure goals and participation are maintained so everyone benefits.

For more information visit:

Ready for a career change? Or, are you a new graduate or student looking for career options?

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

“A person may have outgrown or be unhappy in his or her current job but doesn’t know how to find a rewarding new position. On the other hand, a student or new graduate may not understand his or her strengths, or potential opportunities and how to proceed,” notes Marilyn Fettner, President of Fettner Career and Life Counseling.

When she first meets with a client, Fettner explains, “We discuss his/her goals and expectations. For example, an experienced person might ask ‘how do I deal with my manager or colleagues’ or ‘how can I qualify for another job or be considered for a promotion.’ From another perspective, a college student or new graduate may want help identifying and focusing on appropriate career possibilities.”

Career Change

There are several reasons people would want a career change. Fettner explains, “For example, a person may have outgrown his or her current job, may not be engaged in the work, or may be stuck in a rut and frustrated. As career counselors, we explore clients’ key interests, personality style, personal values, natural abilities, favorite skills, work-life balance, and workplace environment needs. We also discuss practical factors, such as, their desired commuting time, and budget, compensation, and benefits’ considerations.”

Marilyn Fettner is certified in several counseling areas and helps clients through understanding and applying the results of career tests, assessments, and exercises. Fettner guides clients to explore careers that correspond to their dreams, and then coaches them in developing a practical marketing and job-search plan. “I work with clients to help them identify targeted employers, develop resumes and LinkedIn profiles, explore networking opportunities, conduct interview practice, and get organized to land a new job.”

High School or College Graduates

“When you choose a major, you can benefit from clarification regarding the reality of daily work in careers related to your selected major,” Fettner notes. “Information interviews and job shadowing are very important to help people understand the reality of working in a particular job, and deciding whether or not it’s a good fit for them. I help students and new graduates in the process of finding organizations in relevant fields and reaching out to schedule informational interviews,” says Fettner.

Fettner suggests an important resource to explore careers and clarify career focus: “O*net Online ( is a database for occupations, and includes information such as earnings, projected hiring, and most everything you would want to know about an occupation. Its database describes almost 1,000 occupations covering the U.S. economy. It offers occupation-specific descriptions, and includes groups of similar occupations, along with the skills, tools and software that are needed in the occupations. The O*net Online database also includes information to help people find occupation-related training and jobs. “You’ll learn more about salaries, hiring projections, job growth, and advanced degrees you might need for a career,” says Fettner.

Fettner also helps graduates, as well as career changers, identify professional associations that focus on different industries and professions to help them gain knowledge about careers of interest and make strategic networking contacts.  Additionally, she works with clients on resumes, interviewing practice, as well as challenges they may face in new professional careers.

I feel passionately about helping you achieve satisfaction in your professional and personal life.  With experience in career counseling including assessments, resume writing, executive coaching, and job search, I also bring expertise in life coaching/counseling to help you navigate challenges in both your personal and working life. I offer compassion and empathy, as well as actionable strategies to help you make meaningful positive change. 


Business “Referral Engine,” Meaningful Mentoring & “Decluttering your Mind”  

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Get ready to increase your business referrals, develop meaningful mentoring relationships, and “free your mind” to move on in life. We all appreciate new insights and rewarding information, and these resources can help you address the challenges in your life.

The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, by John Jantsch, author of Duck Tape Marketing. “The secret to generating referrals lies in understanding the ‘Customer Referral Cycle’ – the way customers refer others to your company, who in turn, generate even more referrals. Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.”

Besides explaining how to generate referrals, Jantsch offers examples of “referral-specific campaigns, as well as workshop action plans that help you dramatically increase your referrals and business success.

Starting Strong – A Mentoring Fable, Strategies for Success in the First 90 Days, by Lois J. Zachary & Lory A. Fischler. Zachary is president of Leadership Development Services and director of the Center for Mentoring Excellence. Fischler is senior associate for Leadership Development Services and the Center for Mentoring Excellence.

In Starting Strong you will discover what “really good mentors do to make a difference, how they engage their mentees, create good conversation, and keep it going.” Zachary and Fischler also explain how “mentor and mentee move past the idea of ‘advice’ and into a trust-based relationship that generates real learning.”

► “Decluttering your mind,” by Jeannette Bessenger, The Washington Post. ‘Let go of the need to be right’ and 9 other ways to give your brain a spring cleaning.”

Here are Jeannette Bessenger’s 10 bullet points for “freeing your mind and freeing your life,” and you will find the great advice in the article itself.

  1. Mind your own business.
  2. Let go of the need to be right.
  3. Stop blaming, shaming and complaining.
  4. Stop trying to please and impress everybody.
  5. Clean up unfinished business.
  6. Forgive someone.
  7. If you’re in the wrong, make it right.
  8. Let go of perfectionism.
  9. Let go of self-limiting beliefs.
  10. Stop mismanaging your emotions.

First Person Public Relations looks forward to your feedback.

Mentoring — Top Tips to Mentors

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

When you successfully mentor, both you and your mentee grow and develop, and you will discover rewarding experiences and new opportunities.

To help you understand the mentoring process and its potential, Dr. Lois J. Zachary, President, Leadership Development Services, LLC, offers Top Tips to Mentors. The Center for Mentoring Excellence is a division of Leadership Development Services.

Top Tips to Mentors

►  “Listening is critical,”  Lois explains. “You should not talk more than the mentee. Mentoring is about the mentee’s growth and development. Don’t make assumptions without checking them out first. You might jump to incorrect conclusions if you do. How good are you at listening, asking questions and clarifying your mentee’s perspectives?”

►  “Try to walk in the mentee’s shoes. Different generations see the world differently. They have different experiences and interests. Ask questions so that you can understand your mentee’s perspective.  In conversation, check things out. Say ‘I am assuming…’  Or, say ‘I’m curious about…’  Your mentee will appreciate that you’re trying to understand where they are coming from.

►  “Mentoring is mentee-driven, so clarify your role and mentee expectations, and as you move along in the process, make sure you’re on the same page.”

►  “Hold yourself accountable for supporting your mentees and helping them develop a vision and a goal for the future. At the end of every mentoring session, ask the mentee if the feedback you provided was relevant and useful.”

►  While you are helping and supporting your mentee, “look at mentoring as an opportunity for self-development and growth,” Dr. Zachary explains. “Always consider how you can become a better mentor. It will help you become more effective with co-workers and strengthen your skills as a leader.”

► “Your mentees must leave with the capacity, competence and confidence to achieve their goals.”

The potential for your growth and development, new personal insights and lessons you will learn as a mentor are transferrable to many situations as you consider your potential – and whether you might seek a mentor for yourself.

To subscribe to the Center for Mentoring Excellence monthly eletter: or text MENTORING4U to 22828 on your mobile device.



Public Libraries Help You Grow Your Business

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

Entrepreneurs, retailers, corporations, nonprofits, and home-based businesses appreciate their public library’s business centers and diverse resources.

“Large businesses use our Business & Career Center’s private rooms to interview potential employees.  Other organizations present special programs in our fully equipped meeting venues. And, entrepreneurs who have researched a new business concept can work with SCORE counselors to develop business plans,” says Terry Ratoff, Business Services Librarian, Skokie Public Library, Illinois. “If you’re starting a new career, we can  help you with your resume and identify potential employers and job sites.”

The Business & Career Center is also useful to home-based and other small businesses, providing additional space for meeting clients and hosting presentations. “One business owner told me she moved her business into a small office space near the library because she knew she could hold larger meetings here.”

The library’s Business & Career Center offers access to other library resources, available online and at the library via a free Business Library Card.

  •  Online Resources open new doors. You can research a variety of business, industry and investment sources, technology venues, sites to learn another language, and technology and software training from your home or office.
  • The Business and Career Center’s meeting rooms are equipped with wi-fi, SMART boards, voice conference and projection equipment. The largest room accommodates 49 individuals, another seats 16 around a large conference table, and the smallest room seats 5.
  • The Digital Media Lab provides equipment and staff support for creating digital videos, music, photography, websites and more.
  • Ongoing classes and programs presented by the library as well as other expert presenters include: SMART Phone Photography and editing, Managing Your Business Cash Flow, Creating a Business Plan for loan applications. The library  holds regular Business before Hours sessions which cover a variety of subjects to help small businesses use social media such as “Build Your Business with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
  • Business and technical books and magazines for small businesses are available in the library or online
  • SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) offers two opportunities at the library: one-on-one business consultations with SCORE counselors as well as SCORE programs on specific subjects.
  • Library experts will schedule one-on-one sessions with you to introduce new resources and technology and help you meet challenges in other areas, such as mobile devices or software questions.
  • Skokie Public Library’s ongoing programs and classes feature a variety of business and career oriented subjects.

Whether you want to escape your office clutter and distractions to work on a special project, or you want to take photos/videos of your pizza parlor for marketing purposes, or you want to meet with a client in a private room, or you want to explore new career opportunities, or you want to reserve a room for your association’s program, your public library is there for you. Check it out to grow your business!

Business Center Meeting Room at the Skokie Public Library:

Overview of the Skokie Public Library Business Services:

For more information, contact Terry Ratoff, Community Engagement Librarian Business Services, Skokie Public Library:, 847-324-3417.



Achieve Business Goals and Success through Mentoring

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Mentoring continues to prove its benefits in any economy, reinforcing personal and professional growth for both mentee and mentor. “The demand for mentoring has increased because there is a strong business imperative for investing in it,” says Dr. Lois J. Zachary, Director of the Center for Mentoring Excellence, a division of Leadership Development Services.

Zachary cites many ways that mentoring helps organizations and employees establish common ground and work together to develop and achieve their goals, and here are a few of them.

 “Mentoring drives recruitment of future talent.  While Boomers are exiting the workforce, another door has opened and almost 80 million Millennials are in or entering the workforce. Having a mentor is a fundamental element to leadership success.

“Mentoring contributes to increased retention rate of talent. Almost all successful professionals attribute their success, in whole or in part, to the mentors who have supported their growth and development. When you feel that someone has a vested interest in your success, you are more likely to tough out the hard times and work through difficult issues.  And in tough times, that safety net that mentoring offers becomes even more valuable.

“Mentoring builds and strengthens the company’s talent pipeline.  There is more pressure than ever to encourage everyone to accelerate their results, especially in times of significant change and uncertainty and even more urgency to get high performers in gear as quickly as possible.  Mentors provide road maps and models for fast tracking learning and avoiding missteps that often short circuit results.

“Without mentoring, knowledge is unevenly distributed. Some information is known by some people. Other information is known “in pockets.” Knowledge silos contribute to lack of alignment and make it difficult for leaders to make effective decisions. Mentoring can break down silos and expand the knowledge base.

 “Mentoring promotes diversity and inclusion by giving everyone an opportunity to learn and benefit from the diversity within an organization. Diverse perspectives and opinions get heard, are better understood and are more widely valued.  While differences can spark mistrust, mentoring builds trust in relationships, in teams, across departments, and business units.  Boundaries and borders, and territorialism diminish where mentoring flourishes.

“When someone is moving to a new position, assigned a new set of responsibilities, or takes on a new leadership role, a mentor can help them make a smoother transition, and avoid common pitfalls –  ensuring continuity of competence in times of changing roles.

‘One of the most powerful benefits of mentoring is its contribution to promoting a more connected, engaged, aligned and productive workplace. Mentors can help mentees better understand and commit to organizational goals, rather than work on personal agendas.  An organization’s investment in mentoring builds loyalty.  When you know your organization cares about you, your work, your contribution and your career, you pay back the investment with conscientiousness, commitment and extra effort. Mentoring strengthens teams and encourages employees to contribute new ideas that will help the organization and themselves grow.”

The definition of mentoring varies among cultures and individual relationships. “The word mentor might be related to a teacher, supervisor, or expert in another cultural context.  “I think what surprises so many people is that there are so many (almost 500) definitions of mentoring currently at play.”

Zachary adds that “the biggest surprise is that mentoring takes work for both the mentor and mentee to get it right and that the relationship is a reciprocal partnership. Both partners gain expanded perspectives and insights, not just the mentee.”

As we look forward to a new year and new opportunities, consider the potential rewards – for yourself and your organization – of mentoring.

Note: January is National Mentoring Month in the U.S.  For resources on mentoring:

Mentors in Changing Times

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Have you benefited from mentoring or wish you could?

Organizations and individuals understand that mentoring is even more important in today’s challenging times. They also realize that “the mentee is no longer a passive receiver but an active learner, and the mentor is no longer an authority figure but a facilitator of learning,” Lois J. Zachary explains in the new edition of The Mentor’s Guide – Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships.

“Organizational mentoring programs help develop workplace talent, nurture commitment and trust, address diversity and inclusion issues, and are valuable recruiting retention tools,” Zachary says. Mentors offer experience, capabilities and confidence. In developing their goals, mentees ask for what they need, sometimes challenging their mentors’ perspectives. In other words, mentoring involves reciprocity, and “it’s no longer the mentee sitting at the feet of the mentor.”

Mentoring in Changing Times

Zachary introduces today’s realities for mentee and mentor when discussing Context. The Context of Difference explains how cultural, intergenerational, identity (sexual, gender and race), and power issues affect mentoring. Understanding and working through these differences helps the mentoring relationship succeed. The Context of Connection addresses the “spaces and places in which mentoring partners convene, connect, communicate, and learn” in new and unexpected ways.

Today, Zachary reminds us, “the mentor is not always the older partner in the relationship, and the relationship can be informal or formal, face-to-face, from a distance or virtual,” one-on-one or as a group opportunity. Regardless of the approach, you’ll appreciate the perspectives that emerge.

Mentoring Across Silos

For example, as organizations become more efficient and work to engage all of their employees in common goals, they face the fact that “knowledge is distributed unevenly throughout most organizations. Some information is known by some people. Other information is known in pockets,” Zachary says. “Knowledge silos contribute to lack of alignment and make it difficult for leaders to be effective.

“After a company I worked with created a cross-functional mentoring program for new leaders,” Zachary says, “the entire culture shifted. Previously, mentees had no idea what they didn’t know about other divisions. Their work world revolved around their silo. The knowledge sharing that occurred through mentoring created new networks throughout the company and allowed them to align their efforts more strategically.”

Mentoring for Success

The Mentor’s Guide helps mentors and mentees prepare for the relationship, negotiate, enable growth, overcome obstacles, and “come to closure…looking back and moving forward.” The book’s engaging exercises, real life examples of successful and disappointing mentoring, and a variety of tables and resources take you through the process.

“Leaders everywhere are facing challenges in dealing with generational differences in today’s workforce,” Zachary says. “Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Yers or Millennials act and operate from different assumptions. Knowing how to leverage their diverse talents produces results that truly matter.”

If you or your organization wants to meet today’s challenges through a successful mentoring program, you will find more information at Leadership Development Services,

In The Mentor’s Guide’s preface, Lois J. Zachary recalls “an old African proverb that says, ‘If you want to travel fast, travel alone; if you want to travel far, travel together.’ At its core, that is what mentoring is: traveling far, together, in a relationship of mutual learning.”

Everyone Wins in Mentoring Programs

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

“Mentoring is a two-way street,” explains Dianne James, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, National Bank of Arizona.  “Mentors get as much out of the process as their mentees do, and the reciprocal relationship achieves professional and personal goals.”

Yes, mentors “groom the next generation” and reinforce a mentee’s value to the organization, Dianne says. “However, as mentors share their knowledge, they also realize how much they have accomplished and learned. This mutually rewarding experience impacts the organization in a larger, positive way, offering insights that help it achieve its goals more effectively.”

Medtronic, Inc., another of the many examples of organizational mentoring, supports mentoring throughout its world-wide corporate network. Joanne Goldberg, Principal IT Project Lead, explains that the company’s mentoring programs are usually based on an organizational function or common interest, such as the Medtronic Women’s Council, a diversity inclusion program. A mentoring pair receives introductory training and establishes goals for the 12-month process.

 “We definitely find that mentoring is a very powerful tool, more than people assume,” Joanne says. “It’s an amazing partnership when people are fully engaged, and both employees reap benefits.  ”They learn more about the company and see new perspectives. “As you’re explaining things to your mentee, you gain clarity about your own development.”

At the end of the 12-month period, the pair measures their progress toward defined goals. Then they decide if they want to renew for another cycle or if they want to change partners. Joanne says that while the biggest surprise is how powerful the one-on-one relationship can be, “the biggest disappointment is that it takes hard work.”

Medtronic continues to explore ways it can expand its mentoring programs “because we see the benefit for all of us. In addition to one-on-one mentoring pairs, we’ve started to create mentoring circles to determine the potential of one mentor working with a small group of mentees,” Joanne says.

 Organizations value the rewards of mentoring, especially during challenging economic times. Mentoring programs retain current staff, support potential leaders, and strengthen an organization’s competitive position in the marketplace.

Dr. Lois Zachary, Director of the Center for Mentoring Excellence, is a recognized authority on mentoring, has written several books on the subject and leads mentoring workshops.

 “Being a mentor, myself, has helped me learn many things that I would not have otherwise learned,” Lois explains. “I also see organizations embracing mentoring in a new way. They have a hunger for knowledge about best practices and definable strategies that elevate their mentoring programs.”

 Many organizations have downsized, and “they want to hold on to and invest in growing the people they have,” Lois says. “I believe that if an organization is not learning, it is not earning. It’s an important mindset for organizations to embrace.”

Tribute to a Mentor

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Many people thank a personal mentor for helping them understand and fulfill their potential. If you have been fortunate enough to have one – trusted friend, relative, counselor or teacher – you know how life-changing a rewarding mentoring experience can be.

In his latest book, Seeing More Colors – A Guide to a Richer Life, Michael S. Lewis, MD, physician, author and photographer, shares what he learned from his mentor, Abraham Maslow.  

Maslow, a prominent professor of psychology, introduced several concepts, including the characteristics of self-actualized people. Lewis met Maslow when he attended Brandeis University in the early 1960s. “He was a mentor to me, and I had a close personal relationship with him. His ideas have continued to capture my imagination for almost 50 years.”

In Seeing More Colors, Lewis explores and illustrates the characteristics that help self-actualized people lead more satisfying lives. Capacity to shape our own realities. Creativity – responding to challenges with creative solutions. Appreciating the moment. Autonomy – independent thinkers. Focusing beyond oneself. Humor and Celebration. Kinship – capacity for friendship and reciprocity. Loving and being loved. Peak experiences.

 While Abraham Maslow discussed his theories in books and articles, and other authors have written about him, “it’s exciting to be able to express Maslow’s ideas not just in my own words,” Lewis says, “but also in the words of others, and in my photographic images from all seven continents.”

People of all ages and situations will find Seeing More Colors engaging and motivating when meeting today’s challenges. As these concepts did for Lewis, they can help us expand our worlds, lead more enriched lives…and fulfill upcoming new year’s resolutions.

Mentoring in Business

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Mentoring can be mutually rewarding for mentors and mentees, whether in a business or in a personal setting. When the relationship is effective, both individuals learn and grow.

I recently attended Mentoring: Raising the Bar on Performance, presented by Dr. Lois J. Zachary, director of the Center for Mentoring Excellence and author of several books on mentoring. Participants in this one-day workshop included organizational leaders and staff members with a range of corporate and nonprofit experience.

 “Mentoring is a reciprocal learning relationship,” Dr. Zachary explains. “Mentor and mentee agree to a partnership in which they collaborate to achieve mutually defined goals that will develop a mentee’s skills, abilities, knowledge and thinking process.” The workshop included enlightening activities, one-on-one exchanges and discussion of critical mentoring issues.

We learned how to negotiate and establish mentoring agreements, connect with the mentee’s learning style, perspectives and expectations, and clarify our assumptions and challenges as mentors. We also discussed the importance of setting mutually beneficial and realistic mentoring goals and how to bring closure to the mentoring relationship.

I learned – and it seemed to be true for other participants – much more about effective mentoring than I had known or sufficiently understood before.

The fact that 76 percent of Fortune 25 companies offer mentoring programs reflects how important mentoring has become in employee recruitment and retention, strategic planning, and bottom line performance.  

 Mentoring offers enormous potential for personal and organizational growth, especially when the mentor understands the commitment to mentees – a relationship that is deeper than “call me when you have a question.” 

One workshop participant, currently a mentee, is so enthusiastic about his workplace mentoring experience and potential that he wants to learn more before reversing roles and helping others. 

My next post will offer another inspiring perspective on mentoring that you can apply in your life.