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Representatives across many federal agencies met March 13 to discuss issues facing mentoring programs. Topics included, Bridging the Gap: How to Effectively Leverage the Strengths of Each Generation in Today's Workforce; Emotional Intelligence and the Mentoring Relationship; Can a Virtual Government-Wide Mentors Program Really Work; and It Can Work: Ideas to Sustain and Invigorate Mentoring Efforts.

As lead of NAVAIR's national Mentoring Team, I also presented an overview of NAVAIR'S Mentoring Program's revitalization.

Federal agencies invest in a mentoring program for the same reasons as private industry: it makes good business sense. Mentoring programs positively impact workforce-centric issues that include: job satisfaction, productivity, professional development, recruiting, retention and succession planning.

In response to the December 2011 Climate Survey, the Mentoring Externally Directed Team was chartered to assist Donna Belcher, NAVAIR's Mentoring Program Manager, by focusing efforts to increase awareness and participation across the 4.0, 5.0, and 6.0 competencies.

Members of the team contacted NAVAIR employees to solicit comments from customers regarding the Mentor Program and the iMentor tool, ultimately developing their four-phased revitalization approach based upon many of those insights. The approach includes having Gary Kessler, deputy assistant commander for Test and Evaluation/Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division executive director (AIR 5.0); Jesse McCurdy, deputy assistant commander for Research and Engineering (AIR 4.0) and Garry Newton, deputy assistant commander Logistics and Industrial Operations (AIR 6.0) as "Champions" of the Mentoring Program; making enhancements to the iMentor tool to give it greater social media "look, feel, and appeal"; recognizing existing mentors as well meeting one-on-one to encourage participation and monitoring and evaluating efforts towards success.

In addition to confirming NAVAIR's revitalization efforts incorporated industry-wide "best practices," agency representatives viewed NAVAIR's revitalization strategy and implementation as "very informative, cutting edge, just what our agency needs, well designed and replicable." The National Mentoring Team has offered to mentor other federal agencies in attendance on NAVAIR's successes and capitalize on the shared learning opportunities of an expanded network of professionals that share the same high interest in developing successful mentoring programs.

It is such a privilege to be involved in this effort for our workforce and the fact our efforts resonated so well with other federal agencies now presents the opportunity to assist them with this important endeavor.