Maya Lynum-Walker (left) was matched with Angela Taylor as part of a pilot mentoring program.
Maya Lynum-Walker (left) was matched with Angela Taylor as part of a pilot mentoring program.

A mentoring program aimed at helping UofL employees connect and learn from each other kicks off this week and administrators are urging people to sign up before the March 29 deadline.

Mentoring for Success is a human resources initiative and part of the “great places to work” vision.

According to Brian Buford, director of employee development and success, the pilot program will match mentors and mentees and then—for the most part—let them decide how often to meet, what to discuss, and how they can learn from each other.

“We decided that an informal approach is best because we want to allow plenty of room for employees and mentors to decide what goals they want to work on, and the best way to go about it,” Buford said. “Plus, it gives us an opportunity to gather information so we can tweak the program and make it even better.”

As a general guideline, organizers recommend that mentors-mentees meet at least once a month.

While the program is open to all employees, the 2019 launch prioritizes staff because, historically, there have been fewer mentoring opportunities available to them.

“This program is an easy way for employees to take part in professional development without having to leave campus or take time away from their normal work day,” said John Elliott, interim associate vice president for human resources. “Employees who are engaged with their co-workers are happier and healthier and that’s a very big deal for us.”

Employees from marginalized groups (women, people of color, LGBTQ and others) are especially encouraged to apply as part of the university’s commitment to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion.

Buford notes that mentoring is a smart way to tap into institutional knowledge that may be specific to UofL and higher education. The relationship between co-workers Maya Lynum-Walker and Angela Taylor is a good example.

Lynum-Walker, a Kent School counselor and advisor, was paired with Taylor, assistant provost for student affairs and assistant dean of students, because she wanted to learn more about student conduct policies.

After a few meetings with Taylor, Lynum-Walker said, “The mentorship has allowed me to build a professional relationship with someone that I probably would not have been afforded the opportunity to meet otherwise.”

Employees interested in learning more or signing up for Mentoring for Success can go here.

After the sign-up period closes March 29, there will be a kick-off event in mid-April, a series of workshops during the summer and fall and a culminating celebration in December.