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The NCMA Tysons Mentoring Program is the forum for senior and experienced contracts professionals (10 + years in the field) to privately discuss relevant and important topics with more junior contracts professionals (1 – 5 years in the field). The intention of this program is to provide junior contracts professionals an opportunity for professional development, a networking sphere, an introduction to NCMA Tysons, and an opportunity to speak with someone more experienced in the contracts field on a myriad of topics of concern or speculation.

The NCMA Tysons Mentoring Program is kicking off its 10th year in October 2016! We are looking for five to eight mentors and mentees to join the program. Mentees will need to complete applications which can be found on the Tysons Corner NCMA website under “Member Resources -> Mentoring Program -> Special Message to Mentees” drop down. Mentee applications are due October 12, 2016 to the Director of Mentoring (see below contact information).

Once mentees are selected, we will match mentees with their mentors based on mentee responses to the application and aid with introductions.

Is the Mentoring Program open to both federal & commercial contracting professionals that belong to NCMA Tysons?

Yes. Mentor and mentee opportunities are open to both federal and commercial contracting professionals who are members of NCMA Tysons.

Is there a cost to me?

To make the relationship beneficial, both mentor and mentee will need to invest some amount of personal resources, whether that investment is in hours, availability, etc. NCMA Tysons is not charging a participation fee for either mentors or mentees.

Is the NCMA Tysons Mentoring Program part of the NCMA CMLDP Program?

It is true that NCMA Contract Management Leadership Development Program (CMLDP) participants also have mentors. Currently though, the two programs are managed separately. However, several past participants in the NCMA Tysons mentoring program applied and were accepted into the CMLDP.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a career development process which essentially involves the formation of a relationship between a mentor and the mentee which can take a variety of forms. It facilitates a partnership between experienced and less experienced professionals to enhance the lesser experienced individual’s professional development and growth. A mentor may provide career guidance, offer suggestions on work-related issues, provide feedback on the mentee's work, help with management concerns, or work with the mentee in other ways agreed upon by both parties.

What must I consider before entering into a Mentoring Relationship?

Before establishing a relationship, mentors and mentees should think about, discuss, and agree on:

  • What is the focus of the mentoring - career goals, business plans, projects, deliverables, management, etc.?
  • What is the intended result?
  • How much time will be required? (one party may require more time)
  • How long will the relationship last?
    • For Program Year 2016-2017, the mentor/mentee program will run for 9 months, from October 2016 to June 2017.
  • Who should contact whom, when and how often?
  • How quickly and often will questions asked or answered?
  • Will mentoring be done via email, phone, in person, IM, conferences, etc.?

What are the elements of a Mentoring Relationship?

A successful mentoring partnership involves certain personal expectations and commitments, including:

  • A level of commitment: Both mentor and mentee must have a realistic sense of the time commitment that each expects from the other before they begin to work together. The time commitment may need to be adjusted as the relationship develops, but both parties must be willing to invest the time and effort.
  • Shared areas of interest: mentee skills and experience levels will vary, as well as his or her interests and goals. The mentor should discuss areas of interest with the mentee before working with him or her.
  • Balanced expectations: Remember to discuss up-front what each of you hopes to gain from the relationship
  • A mutually respectful relationship: Both parties must be willing to consider each other's viewpoints and communication styles. Remember to stay within the boundaries you set regarding time commitment, hours of contact, schedule/deadlines, etc. Mentoring does not run one way only.
  • Open communications: The parties should be active partners in the relationship, and both should feel free to discuss the progress of the relationship.
  • A certain level of conflict: You may have different ideas about how to approach a specific problem or project. Recognize mistakes and conflict as part of learning. Both parties must realize and accept that the mentee’s decisions are ultimately his or her own to make.

What should I expect?

In order to graduate from the program, mentees will be required to fulfill the following:

1) A professional development component (NCMA course, certification, or NES attendance)
2) A chapter volunteer role
3) A networking function
4) Completion of two deliverables

  Deliverable 1 - REQUIRED:

  • Mentoring Action Plan

  Deliverable 2 - SELECT ONE OPTION:

  • Submit a paper to CM magazine
  • List a discussion thread on LinkedIn
  • Interview an NCMA Tysons Chapter member
  • Write a small article to be posted on our website

What shouldn’t I expect?

The mentor / mentee relationship to always be perfect: The mentoring relationship may not be a perfect fit since mentoring is essentially the development of a relationship between two parties. Both parties have individual goals for a mentoring commitment. As in any relationship, the goals and philosophies of both parties occasionally do not mesh well. If you do not feel that it is working out, talk it over and see if anything can be done. If you need to feel free to contact the NCMA Tysons Director of the Mentoring Program.

Immediate results: It takes time to develop a mentoring relationship. Getting to know a person is a gradual process. Also, schedules can get tight at times and make it difficult to keep in regular contact.

If you are a current member of NCMA Tysons and wish to be a mentee or a mentor and have more questions, please feel free to contact:

Rachita Varma-Jain
Director, NCMA Tysons Mentoring and Networking
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NCMA Tysons P.O. Box 9523, McLean, VA 22102 NATIONAL CONTRACT MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION