Year-round Mentor Program
Members new to our organization may wish to take advantage of the VRA Mentor Program. Despite VRA’s active listserv, numerous publications, Regional Chapters and Annual Conference, new members can benefit from a mentor’s advice and assistance with establishing contacts within the Association. The aim of the year-round mentor program is to offer mentoring at any time during the year, not just at the annual conference.
VRA Members for 3 years or more who are reasonably well acquainted within the Association.
Mentors should contact their mentee via e-mail or a phone call. If possible mentors are encouraged to meet their mentee in person, invite him or her to local meetings, make introductions and in general make them feel welcome to the Association. In addition the mentor should answer questions or provide guidance on matters related to Visual Resources concerns that the mentor feels qualified to counsel on.
Term of Mentorship:
While we hope that many mentors will form lasting professional associations with their mentee, the mentoring commitment can be understood to consist of a few phone calls to field questions, a face to face meeting if possible, and invitations and introductions at local chapter meetings or at the National conference. This type of commitment can be discharged within 1 to 6 months depending upon the schedule of the local Chapter or Annual Conference.
Mentor Program Application Process:
Potential Mentors and Mentees will be asked to complete a questionnaire. This will assist the Mentor Coordinator in making the best match possible. The first priority will be to match members within the same local chapter. Members outside the area of a local chapter will be matched with the next best suitable member.
Administration of Mentor Program:
Whenever possible, the year-round mentor program will be administered at the chapter level. The VRA secretary should provide the Membership Committee Chapter liaison with a list of new members twice a year. The Membership Chapter liaison will then distribute the names and contact information to the appropriate chapter chairs. Chapters may choose to have a program coordinator, or the Chapter Chair may take on the responsibilities of matching mentors and mentees, and ensuring that new members are made aware of the program and that the program is running as intended. The VRA’s National Mentor Coordinator will be responsible for administering the year-round program for members living in geographical areas not served by a local chapter.
If any difficulties are experienced by either party they are encouraged to contact the local chapter Mentor Coordinator or the National Mentor Coordinator. After 6 months, the appropriate mentor coordinator will contact both parties to assess their satisfaction with their mentoring experience.
Annual Conference Mentor Program
Each year our association has many members who are attending their first or second conference. Even with user-friendly conference programs a newcomer may have questions and the need for advice. We would like to match a seasoned conference-attendee (mentor) with such a first-timer.
Prerequisites to be a mentor are to have attended one or more recent VRA conferences and be reasonably well acquainted within the Association. The only prerequisite for newcomers is to be a first (or second) time conference attendee.
Mentors will be asked to make contact with their protégé before coming to the conference. At that time arrangements can be made to meet for coffee or lunch, etc. on the first or second day to talk about the Association and give conference survival tips. Mentors will introduce new members to others at any and all events to help that person build his or her own network within the Association.
This is a fun and collegial program that has had much success and positive feedback. Both Mentors and protégés have found the program greatly enhances their conference experience. You may request a conference mentor when you register for the conference.