2020 Mentorship Best Practices

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FountainBlue’s November 6 When She Speaks program featured our Annual Mentorship Best Practices program. 

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds in our panel. Although each panelist was unique in her perspective, all speakers had much in common.

  • Their passion for mentorship, learning and growing runs wide and deep. They practice it in their thinking, speaking and in their actions, embracing opportunities for continuous learning within and outside the work environment.
  • They are each complex individuals with many dominant skills, but also open and eager to learn new and even scary things, if it’s an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to serve others.
  • They are each strategic while being tactical, team players while also very independent, open and trusting while also savvy and methodical.

Below is a compilation of best practices they shared in the panel discussion.

  • Each company, each leader has a different way of running a mentorship program. There are no right answers, but each solution keeps involving and improving, getting feedback and input from committed participants.
  • Implementing successful programs takes dedication and collaboration, to ensure that there is a process for matching mentors and mentees, a format for maintaining communications between pairs and across the program, a commitment for the funding and resources to grow a program, and an expectation to continue communicating and learning from successes and challenges, in the interest of continuous improvement.
  • Build a culture which builds people up, facilitates connections between people who work toward a common goal. 
  • Although there’s a need for structure to support the building of networks within and outside an organization, also embrace the opportunity which come from fluidity and creativity and random connections, which could lead to leadership and innovation outcomes.
  • Align the executive team to a people-first mindset, in thoughts, words and actions. 
  • Reward committed staff and volunteers putting structures and systems in place organically, to best serve the community. 
  • Serve the needs of the customers – the mentees and the mentors who want to contribute to their own growth and that of others.
  • Create a solution which is scalable and flexible, with a host of resources to support all involved across the globe.

These are the values mentors and mentees admire in others:

  • Humility
  • Trust
  • Candor
  • Humor
  • Openness
  • Vulnerability
  • Courageous/Strength

This is what our mentors and mentees would tell their 21-year-old self:

  • Don’t expect every experience to be a positive one, but do commit to persevering through the good and the bad.
  • Be the Advocate that you seek. You are in the best position to advocate for yourself.
  • Ask for More of what you’re seeking. It will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll get it.
  • Pursue your goals – reach higher than you think you can and keep raising the bar for yourself.
  • Have patience with yourself. And with those around you. 
  • Make the goal is worthy of the journey.
  • Listen to and learn from everyone’s story. 
  • When you’re stuck, ask for help. Being independence, but being inter-dependent makes everyone better.
  • Assume that you will be evolving across roles, across companies, across geographies and keep your network and your education growing as you evolve.
  • You’re already a better leader than you think you are. You’re enough just as you are.  

Here’s a shout-out to all the mentors and mentees and coaches and sponsors out there – those who are investing in their own growth, and that of all they touch. May the energy come full circle back to you.


Please join me in thanking our hosts at Micron and our panelists for FountainBlue’s 2020 Annual Mentorship Best Practices program.

Mentorship2020PanelNames.png
  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • with opening remarks by Buffie Main, Global Executive and Leadership Development Senior Program Manager, Micron
  • Mentors:
    • Amber Barber, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Global chairperson, Women in Global Operations ERG, Lam Research
    • Nancy Mason, Supply Chain Manager, NVIDIA
    • Gayathri Radhakrishnan, Director Venture Capital – AI Fund, Micron
    • Sandy Yu, Global Director, Product Strategy and Success, Oracle
    • Mentees:
      • Megan Cibula, Industrial Engineering Supervisor, Lam Research
      • Bambi DeLaRosa, Healthcare AI Principal Investigator and OHSU collaborator, Micron
      • Priyanka Kukade, Senior Design Verification Engineer, NVIDIA
      • Madeline Walsh, Senior Program Associate, Oracle Corporate Citizenship 

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