The WSMR Garrison USAG Mentorship Program is taking applications for new mentees to participate in the semi-annual mentorship program. This program was created in an effort to provide Garrison employees, who have a desire to advance professionally, with the necessary tools to do so.
“The intent behind the program is mid-grade leader development,” said Col. Brian Michelson, WSMR Garrison Commander. “This program is not for everyone. We want to specifically focus on individuals who are interested in building skills above and beyond the technical aspects of their current job.”
The goal of the program is to provide mentees with opportunities to learn about leadership and management, gain a better understanding of the Garrison organization and its supporting relationships, and gain a broader perspective on further opportunities for Federal Service.
“If we don’t give the workforce opportunities like these, then we are not building the bench for our organization. This is an opportunity for individuals to build skills that will help them in the future,” Michelson said.
The first mentorship program began in July of last year and ended in December. Five mentees participated in the program, with each paired up with a mentor who helped guide them throughout the five month program. The mentees and mentors would meet regularly, based on each other’s schedules. At the end of the program the mentee created a final project that ranged from a formal paper to a formal presentation that summarized what the mentee took away from the program. Both the mentees and the mentors will be formally recognized with certificates at a later date.
What sets this program apart from other leadership programs is that the mentees and the mentors develop their own schedules and goals together, based on what the mentee is looking to gain from the program.
“Some people may think that we can’t afford to do programs like this. In reality, we can’t afford not to do programs like this in which we help aspiring leaders. All senior leaders have had help from others and we need to pass it on to the next generation of Army Civilian leaders. The program will not succeed if we don’t invest of ourselves into others,” Michelson said.
Those who will be chosen for the second mentorship program will be asked to dedicate one full day of their time to the program for a day-long tour of the range, to include Salinas Peak, Trinity Site, and Stallion Range Complex. The mentees may also be asked to provide input on Garrison Command Group leadership decisions.
“Several participants talked about how ideas were brought about through the mentor program that they never would have even thought were possible. Knowing how the system works helps them immensely,” said Bobbi Stark, program manager from the Directorate of Human Resources.
The program is run by Stark and Leidia Duran, also a program manager from the Directorate of Human Resources. Stark said they decided on a five-month program because it would allow them to run two cycles a year.
The mentee program is open to any Garrison employee who has had a successful evaluation and has show progression toward grade-appropriate completion of CES courses. The program is geared to accommodate both individuals who wish to advance professionally and individuals who only wish to gain more knowledge of the range and how decisions are made.
“Some individuals want to aspire to be directors but some just want to be maybe a first line supervisor. Sometimes they just want to get better at what they do,” Stark said. “You may not even aspire to be a supervisor of any field, you may just wish to expand your horizons within your field. You can still be a leader without having to be a supervisor.”
“One of the things the mentees talked about was how their relationships within the program helped them see growth in services that they didn’t even know about,” Michelson said.Ka McNeely, WSMR Deputy Garrison Commander, said there are three core fields an individual must fulfill when seeking to advance within the Army; the technical training aspect, Army formal educational opportunities, and self development opportunities. She said the last leg of the developmental program falls solely on the individual and their drive. The mentorship program can help anyone who is trying to fulfill that last core field. The opportunities in the program can only take you so far McNeely said, it is up to the individual to gain as much from the program as they so desire.
“The philosophy of the Army is your development cannot be complete unless you invest of your own time. It goes back to whatever personal or career goals you have,” McNeely said. “There are a variety of ways you can choose to self improve. This is just one of the many avenues.”
The mentee program is open to all GS 7-12 or WG 7-11 who meet the above requirement and have served in Federal service for at least two years. The new program will begin in February and applications will be accepted until the end of the Jan. 14 business day. The new program participants will be announced at the end of January. Garrison employees may request an application by emailing Leidia Duran at email@example.com.