The U.S. Coast Guard Mentoring Project Core Team was honored this week with a Meritorious Team Commendation for implementing a program that changed how mentoring shapes the service.
The commendation recognized 24 team members who worked together at points over the past four years to make the enhanced mentoring program a reality. Of those, seven have retired, seven members have been transferred, and 10 are still attached to Coast Guard headquarters.
“The Coast Guard mentoring program was made possible because of a grassroots initiative to improve the way the service reaches out and establishes professional relationships with new members,” Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Jason Vanderhaden wrote on Facebook. “The Mentoring Project paved the way for what is now a standardized mentoring program by refining previous iterations and cultivating over 1,700 mentor/mentee relationships between active, reserve, enlisted, officer, civilian, auxiliary and retired members.”
Vanderhaden lauded the “heart, ingenuity and dedication” of Senior Chief Brynn Simonetti for her idea to “create a better Coast Guard” with the new mentoring effort.
“Without her unwavering dedication, this team would not have been created and have the impact it has today,” he said. “She inspired others through her leadership and personifies what is at the heart of this great service.”
The Coast Guard Mentoring Program began in May with innovative ways — in addition to the traditional one-on-one mentorships between junior and senior members — for service members to build relationships, get career support, and prepare for leadership roles.
The Communities Marketplace brings members together in a peer-run group setting to focus on topics and skills that are critical to that particular group’s needs.
“The new Coast Guard Mentoring Program is flipping the script by empowering emerging leaders to share their insight and point of view in a group setting with senior leadership,” the USCG Mentoring Program says. “These groups will create an inclusive work environment, bridging gaps and eliminating generational barriers to create a synergy of skills and abilities that will benefit the Coast Guard as a whole.”
The program also recognizes that some members need short-term mentoring assistance connected to a certain topic or objective. Flash Mentoring, a one-time mentoring meeting, is “focused on time-efficient, knowledge sharing from mentors who have the experience mentees are seeking.” Through this type of speed mentoring, “participants learn job related skills, gain cross-specialty knowledge, and build stronger networks with no minimum time commitments.”