Health With a Capital H
The Mentor-Protégé Program: Professional Growth Is a Rewarding Experience
June 12, 2012
Contributed by Todd Blond, Director of Healthcare Access
In January 2011, IQ Solutions announced it was establishing a Mentor-Protégé Pilot Program (MPP). The program creates a corporate advancement track for mid-level managers who exemplify superior technical and interpersonal skills and have potential for higher level management roles. The main objective is to put in motion a process for retaining and developing IQ Solutions’ most qualified, competent, and marketable employees.
Three current project managers from across the company would be selected for a year-long intensive training and development program. Each selected “protégé” would be assigned a mentor from the current Executive Operations team, who would provide strategic insight, training, and guidance based on their own professional experiences.
In addition to their assigned mentors, the protégés would have the opportunity to attend trainings and workshops on a variety of relevant professional growth topics. As an added bonus, the protégés and mentors would attend the 2011 World Business Forum in New York City.
As soon as I heard about this corporate initiative, I quickly, but thoughtfully, completed the application to be considered for the program. I knew that this was an opportunity I wouldn’t want to miss, as it is rare to have the time and commitment to focus solely on personal and professional growth. Although I knew I was interested, I never imagined just how rewarding the experience could be.
As one of the protégés ultimately selected to take part in the MPP, I was fortunate to spend the past nearly 15 months working closely with my fabulous mentor, Eric Davis, as well as with the other protégés (Ellen Robinson and Kim McGraw) and mentors (Kim Barnes and Ruth Ann Spier) and Denise Crute, the overall MPP coordinator. I had the opportunity to learn more about the nuances of Federal contracts, understand the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership, and learn how to highlight and resolve the one question protégés seek to answer during a presentation in one slide—termed a “money slide” by Barrett Whitener.
At the 2011 World Business Forum in New York, I learned how companies are using innovation and technology to achieve success. I heard from incredibly influential people like Bill Clinton, Jack Welch, and Malcolm Gladwell, and I had the chance to join 5,000 other attendees in “radiating possibility” by singing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” (in the original German no less!) under the direction of world-renowned symphony conductor and motivational speaker, Ben Zander.
Although the trainings and lectures were all extremely beneficial to my overall development as a corporate leader, perhaps even more valuable was the chance I had to get to know and learn from each of the fellow members of the MPP. Whether it was bonding over Bobby Flay’s steaks during our trip to New York or simply sitting together in the conference room discussing how we might improve the corporate onboarding program for new employees, the overall MPP experience was one I will take with me the rest of my career. I strongly recommend to anyone who may have a similar opportunity in the future to take full advantage of such a program. Although we are all busy with our daily responsibilities and jobs, taking the time to learn from the wealth of knowledge that our peers and mentors possess is invaluable.
What invaluable experience or opportunity has impacted your career? Would you do it again or recommend that others follow suit?