Senior Support Network: Tips & Guidance for Meeting with Mentor Volunteers

Congratulations on taking the step of signing up for the Senior Support Network! This resource offers tips and guidance to prepare for your first conversation with the alum or parent you have been matched with for the program.

 

Setting up a time to talk

  • Your alum or parent match will be reaching out to you directly to set up a time to talk by phone or Zoom. There is no need to initiate contact. If you do not hear from them by Monday, May 18, please reach out to Jen Pollard at jpollard@wellesley.edu, and she will follow-up with your match directly.
  • The framework around communication between you and your mentor can — and should! — be developed collaboratively. You may live in different time zones or have different preferences for communicating by Zoom vs. phone. Be as flexible as possible while also openly sharing your own preferences.

 

Meeting with your mentor match

Your first conversation will be an opportunity for you and your mentor to get to know one another. They will ask you guided questions about your professional interests and goals, so spend a bit of time in advance of your call considering what you might share. 

Throughout the conversation, you should also ask questions! Your alumna or parent match has been selected for you based on the industry interests you noted in the senior survey and/or your Handshake profile. While your match may not be working precisely where you imagine yourself in the future, they will have a variety of professional experiences that you can learn from. 

The purpose of this conversation is:

  • To share your current professional goals and status and to listen to your mentor’s guidance, asking follow-up questions to gather helpful information.
  • To learn more about a career path / discover new opportunities you may be interested in.
  • To learn how your industry of interest has been affected by Covid-19.
  • To ask questions and receive answers from a professional with firsthand experience in the work.
  • Not to ask for a job or opportunity. Rather, this is a chance to learn more about an individual’s profession in a way that may inform your own journey, and to gain insight into their industry.

In advance of your first meeting:

  • Research your mentor, their career path, and current company on the Wellesley Hive and Linkedin. They will not expect you to be an expert, but having a general understanding of their industry, work, and company will give you the ability to engage meaningfully in a conversation.
  • Create a list of 4-5 thoughtful questions about your mentor, their organization, and their work. The idea is to ask about those things that are important to you. 
  • Review our guidelines for Leading with Empathy in your mentor/mentee relationship, remembering that your mentor is also navigating their own pandemic challenges.

 

Practicing professionalism remotely

Alumnae and parents understand that students are each living in widely differing self-isolation environments. While this conversation is virtual, your goal should be to practice professionalism to the degree possible in your own environment. Some tips include:

  • Join your virtual meeting on time.
  • Locate the best spot in your environment for wifi connectivity if you are meeting by Zoom. If your wifi is unreliable, you can be upfront with your mentor that phone is a better option — both are great ways to connect!
  • While you certainly do not need to wear professional attire for your conversation, dress neatly and appropriately for the conversation, avoiding athletic gear and sleepwear to put your best foot forward.
  • Take notes!
  • This is a wonderful opportunity to develop a new connection and form a meaningful relationship with a fellow member of the Wellesley Hive, who is eager to support you through this moment!