Guiding the professionals of tomorrow.
The NCMA Tysons Mentoring Program is the forum for senior and experienced contracts professionals to privately discuss relevant and important topics with more junior contracts professionals, such as how to make choices about job responsibilities; how to handle job-related issues including procurement issues; and balancing professional responsibilities and life issues.
Is the Mentoring Program open to both federal and 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 participating in the program?
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, however, everyone must be a current member of the NCMA Tysons Chapter. Additionally, each mentee is required to attend the first NCMA Tysons Happy Hour event, as well as the final Hot Topic Informational meeting, held in June, where the “graduating” mentees will be recognized and receive certificates for successful completion of the mentoring program. NCMA Tysons will work with all mentees to ensure they are able to attend these events.
What are the benefits of the program?
In addition to the benefits derived from working with an experienced contracts professional on achieving your professional goals, or sharing your experiences with a more junior contracts professional, the Chapter will ensure that all mentees and mentors who successfully complete the program requirements receive credit for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours. Toward this end, please maintain documentation of all activities completed in furtherance of the mentoring program for submission to the NCMA Certification Staff. Mentors will also earn credit toward Fellows applications.
What are the requirements for successful completion of the program?
In addition to the aforementioned requirements, mentees will be expected to complete the following
deliverables prior to graduation:
- A Mentoring Action Plan (MAP)
- A professional development component (NCMA course, certification, or NES attendance)
- Volunteering at an NCMA event
- One of the following:
- Submit a paper to CM magazine
- Interview an NCMA Tysons Chapter member (and provide transcripts)
- Write a small article to be posted on our website
- A project of your choosing that provides value to the Tysons Chapter
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? (Suggested: 2-4 hours per month dedicated to the mentoring relationship, whether that be in the form of mentor-mentee conversations, completion of deliverables, or working toward MAP goals)
- How long will the relationship last? (for Program Year 2019-2020, the mentor/mentee program will run for nine months, from October 2019 through June 2020)
- Who should contact whom, when and how often?
- How quickly and often will questions be asked or answered?
- Will mentoring be done via in person, email, phone, messaging platform, etc.?
What are the elements of a successful Mentoring relationship?
- A successful mentoring partnership involves certain key elements, including:
Equal levels of commitment: both mentor and mentee must have a realistic sense of the time
commitment that each expects from the other. While this commitment may need to be
adjusted, both parties must be willing to invest a certain amount of time and effort.
- Shared areas of interest: Mentee skills and experience levels will vary, as will his or her interests
and goals. The mentor should discuss areas of interest with the mentee before working with
him or her.
- Up-front expectations: Remember to discuss up-front what each of you hopes to gain from the
- 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, etc. Mentoring does not run one way only.
- Open communication: The parties should be active partners in the relationship and both should
feel free to discuss the progress of the relationship
- Conflict resolution: You may have different ideas about how to approach a specific problem or
project. Recognize that 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?
The mentor and mentee determine their partnership and the process for managing the relationship. Both parties need to consider what they both want out of the relationship and how they can achieve these objectives. Mentoring relationships may involve: General discussions about procurement and contracting issues; lessons learned and ideas; the mentor acting as a career guide providing suggestions and feedback for the mentee’s longer-term career; the mentor as a sounding board/reality check for ideas about projects and goals; sample projects or exercises that the mentor can assign and review; projects the mentee is working on that the mentor can review (NOTE: Discuss whether a Non-Disclosure Agreement is required); attending conferences, trade shows and local group events together.
What shouldn’t I expect?
- 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 time, which makes it difficult to keep in regular contact.
- Mentor in driving seat: As a mentee you need to remember that you, not your mentor, will manage your own career and life choices – a mentor is there to help you learn to ask the right questions and guide you toward resources that will help you to make these choices.
- Advice always followed: A mentor should remember that the mentee will ultimately make his or her own choices. If your mentee chooses a path or option that you do not recommend or agree with, they may simply be more comfortable taking that course of action.
- Automatic job offer: While some mentoring relationships can lead to paid work, expecting your mentor to make a job offer is overstepping the boundaries of the relationship. A mentor can be a valuable resource for introductions and job leads, but they are there to guide, not to hire.
- Free mentee labor: If the mentor wishes to assign the mentee a task, in most cases, it is best that this be a sample assignment. If you feel comfortable giving your mentee an assignment related to a fee-based project you are working on, we suggest offering a stipend of some form.
- Chapter as mediator: Both parties need to maintain a positive attitude and keep communication open. Prior to reaching out to the Chapter regarding any issues that come up, the mentor and mentee should first attempt to work together to resolve them.
Interested in becoming a mentor?
If you’re interested in joining this year’s mentoring program, please submit an email containing your completed Mentoring Application and resume to the Alphonzo Lister Feely, Director, NCMA Tysons Mentoring Program. And should you have any questions regarding the program, please do not hesitate to reach out. We look forward to hearing from you!