Orange County Branch Newsletter

August 2014

President's Message

The OC Branch Mentorship Program is Taking Off

By: Penny Lew, P.E.

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”  -Steven Spielberg

"Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction." - John Crosby

 "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill

I have great news to share this month as the Orange County Branch mentorship program is now underway! Mentors and protégés are being sought out so if you missed the Branch emails that went out earlier this month, no worries, as the program information can be found on the ASCE OC Branch website:   

Please use the appropriate link to register yourself.  Registration closes on August 31.

Many of you may have seen ASCE LA Section President Yazdan Emrani’s article from the June/July newsletter about mentorships. If you missed it, it can be found at:      

The article describes the importance of mentorships to help assure that the next generation of leaders are ready to take on the challenges presented in our profession.   

This program we are kicking off is something the branch has wanted to initiate for some time. I guess it took the right person at the right time to help make it happen. As an ASCE LA Section Board member representing the Younger Member Forum, our own Ravi Shah, P.E. (past Orange County Branch YMF President) felt strongly about having a self-sustaining mentorship program for the LA Section starting with the Orange County Branch. Ravi is chairing the mentoring committee and has brought together YMF and experienced Branch members together to develop the new program.  With the energy and enthusiasm here at the OC Branch, it made sense to start the pilot program here in Orange County.  We are fortunate to have this program within our Branch and I hope that many of our members take advantage of it and participate as mentors or protégé.

For those you who have at least a decade of civil engineering experience and who have lead projects and supervised, this is a great opportunity for you to give back to our profession. When the committee first convened to discuss where we wanted to take the program, and worked on establishing guidelines and such, we were hopeful as to how many members we could get to commit as mentors. Your participation will be one of the keys to the success of the program.

We are looking for someone who is energetic, a good communicator and listener, willing to give honest constructive feedback to others, and who can make time to encourage the growth and development of the protégé.  If you are considering being a mentor but are still not sure of what it takes, we are looking for someone who can:  

  • Demonstrate commitment and make this effort a priority by making yourself available
  • Help protégé  identify his/her goals
  • Serve as a role model
  • Assist protégé  in setting developmental goals and plans to achieve them
  • Be prepared to provide constructive feedback
  • Help protégé  to develop critical thinking & self-discovery
  • Explore methods for growth
  • Listen carefully Listen and be a sounding board
  • Provide a professional environment that is safe and beneficial to protégé
  • Support and enable participants with time and resources
  • Communicate your experiences and challenges and how they relate to protégé’s  experiences

If you are not ready now or have other obligations within this next year, perhaps you will consider next year as we are hoping for a successful pilot program and therefore the program can continue. The plan is to start each mentorship cycle in November where the mentor-protégé pairing will continue for almost one year.  

When the mentorship program planning meetings were taking place, I had no doubts that we would have many young engineers express interest as protégés as this is one of those opportunities that should not be ignored.  For most of the protégés, it will be a rare opportunity to pair up with a mentor outside of the protégé’s company or organization. This would enable the mentor to provide the protégé mentee a fresh perspective about what could be explored career-wise, as well as insight on the mentee’s current work situation and projects without their organization’s culture or politics as limitations.

We would like support from our members so that the program will eventually be sustainable. To sign up for the ASCE Orange County Branch Mentorship Program, go to:

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