Internal Mentoring Program Introduced at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Internal Mentoring Program Introduced at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

While I’m relatively new to Menttium, I’m not new to new client kickoffs. Last month I attended the launch of a new internal mentoring program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – a moving experience both for the impact the foundation has on the health and lives of people who don’t have equitable opportunities, and for the response from participants in the mentoring program designed with our team at Menttium.

The officially-stated goal of the foundation’s new mentoring program is to “develop leadership skills and retain valuable employees, with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, to enable our collective success through a Mentoring Initiative designed to be in alignment with the foundation’s Core Leadership Principles.” Mentoring puts leadership development into action through leaders stepping-up to visibly develop team members. The message from the organization becomes clear: ‘we are actively interested in supporting your development, and we value your contribution as a team member.’  A well-planned mentoring program supports access and inclusion for all members, creating a more collaborative and inclusive culture. For the Gates Foundation, Senior Program Coordinator, Peter Berry announced, “As a result of benefiting from this mentoring program, the participants will better contribute to lives being saved, health being improved, and our aim of “Every person deserves to live a healthy and productive life” will more likely be achieved!”

Inside the New Mentoring Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

We are thrilled to be a part of the “how” for the foundation to achieve its “what” and “why.” What I observed during the launch of the program implemented in partnership between Menttium and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation opened my eyes to why Menttium was selected for this prototype program. The three recurring themes:

  1. High structure
  2. Aligned expectations
  3. Amazing matches

Minimizing risk and aligning expectations; connecting two strangers for a year-long, intimate, one-on-one leadership program where the expectation is that the mentee drive her or his learning agenda, can be risky. At the launch, the mentees and mentors all agreed that the rigorous structure of the Menttium mentoring program provided the tools and process they need to ensure getting off to a great start as well as manage their partnership throughout the year. The participants are set up for success through group and partnership exercises and activities that build trust, ensure confidentiality, align roles and responsibilities, and start the goal-setting process.

What a Match! How Did You Do That?

‘What a match! How did you do that!?’ The strongest value Menttium brings is reflected in the quality of the connections between mentee and mentor. Listening to the volume amplify immediately when the connections were announced, then hearing directly from mentees and mentors a couple of hours later at a social hour proved Menttium’s match process is our ‘secret sauce.’ Through training, tools, and by following Menttium’s guidance and best practices for matching, The Gates Foundation Implementation team did an excellent job finding the best mentor for each mentee. The amazement was clear from each partner on how Menttium and the Gates Foundation Team members paired them so well – some even shared summer vacation experiences, even if a generation apart!

Lynn Sontag, Menttium’s CEO, attended the launch and added, “at Menttium, we are passionate about helping individuals step into their full-potential and organizations thrive through having their talent bring the best of themselves to each day. It was clear that The Gates Foundation’s leadership was willing to put action behind that philosophy as well. It was an honor to watch the energy in the room and support the Gates Foundation’s efforts to develop talent and create an environment where all voices are welcome.”

“This mentoring program prototype will improve the capabilities of our participating employees … and of the foundation. It’s not overstating my expectations to say that the impact will help the foundation be more successful in its efforts to change the world,” added Peter Berry.

Create a Mentoring Program in Your Office with Menttium

Thank you to Peter and all the members of the implementation team – we can’t wait to hear how your leadership of an internal mentoring program makes a difference for the participants and the organization. We work with a diverse group of organizations and are committed to the value mentoring can bring to organizations both big and small; we have worked with thousands of mentees and mentors around the globe over our 29 year history! Learn more about both our cross-company programs and internal mentoring programs.