So, what exactly is speed mentoring?
by: Kelly Fliller
Heather and I recently had the opportunity to be mentors at the 100 Women Speed Mentoring Event at Ocean County College. All of the mentors were members of Ocean County College Foundation’s 100 Women Campaign, which brings together dynamic, innovative, and accomplished Ocean County women who will support each other’s life and career goals, share their insights and experiences, and encourage education through Ocean County College. The mentees were students of Ocean County College across all degree programs.
It was my first time at a speed mentoring event and I was excited to hear from students and answer their questions. The students and mentors were given a list of questions prior to the event to help guide the discussions. Everyone met in the student center which made it feel a bit more relaxed. Mentors took their seats around the room and stayed there for the duration of the speed mentoring rounds. The students had ten minutes with each mentor to ask questions, talk about their goals and learn about the mentors’ professional experiences. Every ten minutes, a bell would ring and the students would move to a new mentor.
When I started college, I wasn’t sure of my career path. I went to a trade school after earning my associate degree and still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I worked for a few years and finally decided to go back to school for business, earning both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and am very happy with my career choice today. Most of the students we met already knew what they wanted to do after college and they were all well on their way to achieving those goals. I heard some of their exciting plans like opening a thrift store, becoming a nurse or a lawyer, or working in the field of psychology. It was inspiring to see how motivated the students were and how hard they were working.
Since the mentors all knew each other, we could point students in the right direction on who they should speak with based on their questions and career interests. Not only was this a fun speed mentoring event, it was a chance for the students to make long-term connections with business and community leaders who can continue to mentor them throughout their careers.
I am so happy to have these opportunities to talk to students about job searching, leadership lessons I’ve learned and overall career experiences. Organizations and programs like OCC’s 100 Women are so valuable to both the professionals who are members and the students they mentor.