One of the most effective outreach programs that the CHRLS Alumni Association Board of Directors coordinates is the Alumni Mentoring Program, which has been successfully preparing students for future careers in the human resources field for decades.
A committee of Alumni Board members matches first year MA-HRIR students with HR professionals, located both locally and remotely, to provide them with career information, support and networking opportunities.
Mentors and Mentees are encouraged to connect with each other once a month and the committee provides monthly "News and Notes" emails that highlight upcoming events where the two could meet.
The topics discussed at the meetings are based on the needs of the students.
"It can be anything from discussing what decisions the mentor has made in their professional career to discussing a student's options for internships," says Alumni Mentorship Committee Co-Chair Kathleen Grosskopf.
Many of the mentees and mentors choose to stay in contact once the mentorship program ends, and continue to network and share ideas with one another.
"We learned from each other's cultures and experiences. Most importantly, we will now be connected and be able to offer our advice and network as we continue to grow in our HR careers," Mentor Augusto Perez, '08 MA-HRIR, says of his mentee.
Second-year student Mentee Meghann McKee Albertson said the program was beneficial in preparing her for a future career while also providing her with an excellent resource after landing a job.
"When I experienced a few challenges on the job I was able to seek (my mentor's) advice and bounce my ideas off of her," she says.
Mentors choose to be a part of the program for different reasons. Mentor Laura Kato, '05 MA-HRIR, knows the importance of having a mentor while trying to navigate through the program.
"Having a mentor while in school can be particularly important because you have to make a lot of huge decisions in a really short period of time," Kato says. "A student who has a mentor can be more confident knowing they have someone they can turn to who has walked in their shoes."
On the other hand, Perez wanted to provide a student with an opportunity that he never had.
"I didn't have a mentor when I was in the program and I can see the value, so I am putting on my mentee's shoes and trying to think how I would have taken advantage of the opportunity," he says.
The mentees receive advice from real world HR professionals, but the mentors also benefit from the time they put into helping their mentee.
"The payoff you and your mentee get out of the program with relatively little effort is outstanding. Mentees are so grateful that it is a delight to be part of it. Not to mention the experience for the mentor to develop talent," adds Perez.
The 2013 Alumni Mentoring Program runs from February until December. Students and alumni can sign up for the program beginning in late November. Anyone interested in more information can contact the Alumni Mentoring Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.