FEBRUARY 8, 2021 – Mentors and mentees virtually attending the two-day Air Education and Training Command Leadership Mentoring Symposium Jan. 26-27 were given tools needed to inspire and advance the force through mentoring.
“Everyone needs mentors, and my advice is to find mentors within and outside of your career field, as well as mentors who look like you and don’t look like you,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, AETC commander, during his opening remarks. “Mentors can give you ideas, perspectives and feedback from diverse perspectives, and the relationships you develop will make you a better leader, Airman and overall a better person.”
Mentorship is a professional relationship in which a person with greater experience and wisdom guides another person through development, both personally and professionally. The overall goal of mentoring is for a mentee’s potential to be maximized.
“Early in my career I thought if I came to work and did my best, then everything would work out,” said Col. Seth Graham, 14th Flying Training Wing commander. “While that is true to a degree, mentors can help you be deliberate and plan. Mentors are there to help guide you with career progression, advancement and meet deadlines you may be naive to.”
Speakers for the event also explained that mentoring fosters and develops diverse strengths, perspectives and capabilities that begins with inclusion.
“Mentorship fosters a culture of inclusion because it promotes communication,” said Col. Heather Blackwell, 81st Training Wing commander. “While an Airman may not be comfortable with talking to their supervisor about inclusion issues, surely they can bring it up with their mentor. This will give Airmen the opportunity to communicate at every level.”
Mentoring is a responsibility for all leaders and resources are available to help guide mentors and mentees interested in self-development.
“The greatest responsibility for any leader is to mentor and coach the people who will eventually replace you,” said Maj. Gen. William Spangenthal, AETC deputy commander. “I challenge you to make mentorship, both as a mentor or mentee, a priority and deliberately invest time and energy into this effort because it is not just about making one person better, it is about making the entire organization better. ”
For a mentoring tool kit, go to AF Handbook, Air Force Mentoring Program.
Those interested in finding a mentor are encouraged to utilize the Air Force mentoring tool, MyVector, when formally selecting a mentor. On MyVector, mentees will be able to, in real-time, invite participants to serve as mentors, select mentors based on preferences, chat with their mentor online, and complete a mentoring plan. Additionally on MyVector, mentees can find the Air Force competencies, a tool for self-development.
For those interested in mentoring, register on MyVector. For more information on mentorship, email HQAETC.A1D.Workflow@us.af.mil.
By Air Education and Training Command