Even mentoring programs need a little guidance from time to time.

Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center Executive Director Juanita Christensen met with Army Contracting Command-Redstone personnel Nov. 18 to share best practices and lessons learned when it comes to managing a mentorship program. ACC-Redstone will officially stand up its mentorship program Jan. 6; the meeting served as the launch for the program’s mentors.

“You will have challenges with it,” Christensen said. “I’m telling you – mentoring is challenging, but it is so rewarding. I look at a lot of the people that I mentored and I see where their career has gone. My goal, my measure of success, is not about me, it is about where I see my team members going. That’s how I measure success.”

Aviation & Missile Center established a center-sponsored mentoring program in 2014 and has since assisted other Redstone Arsenal organizations in standing up similar programs. Best practices and tips Christensen shared with the ACC-Redstone group included ensuring participants understand what mentoring is and what it is not; that mentors review and offer recommendations on their mentee’s resume and individual development plan; and that the program include a variety of activities, such as a lecture series, mock interviews, tours or breakfast meetings.

“When you’re looking at mentoring you can open up the door broader than just talking to someone across the table,” said Christensen, who wrote her doctoral dissertation on mentorship.

Twenty-eight mentors and 32 mentees are participating in ACC-Redstone’s mentorship program. Over the course of the next few weeks, mentors and mentees will be paired with each other. Once the program officially kicks off in January, the pairings will meet for an hour each month through June.

“Aside from the benefits that the mentees will receive and the benefits that you will receive as being a mentor, the center will receive benefits as well,” said Stephen Hayes, ACC-Redstone director for space, missile defense and special programs. “We believe it will increase retention. We believe it will have a positive impact on the performance of employees. Most importantly, we believe it will enhance the growth and development of our future leaders at ACC-Redstone.”

ACC-Redstone is a major contracting center of the Army Contracting Command. ACC-Redstone is the largest contacting center in the Army. ACC-Redstone’s civilians and Soldiers support Soldiers worldwide by contracting for major weapon system production, sub-systems and services vital to the Soldiers’ mission and well-being. Joseph Giunta is the executive director and senior contracting official for the center.

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