Meet Your Mentor: Kick-off of PWN Vienna Mentoring Program 2020/21
By Kathryn Nenning
Zoom calls are boring, unless they are exciting.
If you’ve joined a mentoring program and are about to meet your mentor for the very first time, even the checkerboard windows of a Zoom call can give you a thrill of anticipation.
The PWN Vienna held the Kick-off for its 2020/21 Mentoring Program on 6 October via Zoom, where Mentees were introduced to their Mentors – with over 89 people joining the call.
But no matter that there were so many people on one call. Ani Llagami, who hosted the event, and Dieter Langenecker, who took care of the technical details, managed to create a feeling of warmth and community. They then used break-out rooms for the individual meetings, which lent a feeling of intimacy to each mentor-mentee first encounter.
The Kick-off call and matching of mentors and mentees may have looked easy, but behind it was hundreds of hours of work by both the Mentoring Team and everyone who applied: time spent creating applications, filling out applications, sending, reading, reviewing, comparing and then re-reading applications; holding over 100 personal interviews; and attending all-day workshops designed to make sure everything for the next nine months runs smoothly.
The PWN Vienna Mentoring Team believes in the Magical Power of Mentoring! Carmen Visus, a member of the Mentoring Team explained it perfectly: ‘We love to be part of it, it is so precious to be part of this adventure of helping others to overcome fears and obstacles, and help them find their best. Mentoring for me is inspiring, is connecting, is expanding opportunities to grow and develop.
The Mentoring Program has been going strong since 2009. That’s over 11 years of experience in designing a robust structure, matching mentors and mentees, and gaining experience watching over the relationships and smoothing out any bumps along the road.
Now that everyone has been matched and introduced, the hard work, but also the fun, begins. The pairs will meet at least once a month, and there will be a lot of tasks to do between sessions. A Mentee’s goal can shift and change over the course of the program, which is a sign of progress and success, making each session different and exciting.
To ensure this success, PWN Vienna has created a community for the mentors that includes workshops, advanced mentoring skill training and also mentoring supervision. Mentor-mentee relationships are unique, and even with the best support they sometimes have wrinkles, which is where the Mentoring Team steps in. A series of Mentor Get-Togethers and Mentee Get Togethers are always planned, where each group can ask questions peer-to-peer, share concerns and tell of milestones reached, all moderated by a mentoring team member. This supportive approach has proved beneficial, as each year several mentors and mentees return for the second or even third time.
After the newly aquainted Mentors and Mentees returned from their break-out rooms and the Zoom call was wraping up, Claudia and Joy, the Presidents, offered some final words of thanks:
“To the mentees: for trusting us with their deepest longings and desires and trusting us that we will find the right mentor for them”
“To the mentors: for their immense dedication and time and the willingness to give something back and learn along the way”
“To all the volunteers, but especially the mentoring team: for all the efforts, and passion, trust and dedication, time and energy – we really appreciate the enthusiasm”
And with the final message – “Enjoy the journey, and the ride, and have lots of fun!” the call ended, with the hope that the closing event in June can be held live at the Novotel Hotel Hauptbahnhof, and with any luck, be just as exciting as the Zoom call.