Member Insights: The Power of Mentoring

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Insights by Stephen Metz, PE, LEED AP BD+C, President

It’s been said by business author Mark W. Boyer, “The best help we can offer the youth of today is to prepare them for tomorrow.” Mentoring is just one of the ways to help prepare young people for their futures, and SMBH has been a longtime believer in its importance.

For years, SMBH has been involved in the Structural Engineers Association of Ohio (SEAoO), which coordinates regular opportunities for its student and professional chapters to network. For example, during an event, informally called an “evening of mentoring,” recent graduates presented their experiences on projects, jobs and the work atmosphere, and students had a chance to hear presenters discuss what they wished they had known before graduating – a popular topic for all in attendance.

We believe in the mentoring process. It’s a great way to learn and it’s good for the mentors, too. When our engineers are in a position to teach someone else, we find they develop leadership skills and learn from the process as well.

As part of the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Crossroads Mentorship Program, Lisa Connelly is giving back. Once a protégé in the program, Connelly is now a Crossroads Mentorship committee member and shares her experiences and knowledge with the participants to assist with personal and professional growth. “As a 5-year committee member, I help organize annual events, including the speed-networking session where mentors and protégés meet one another in a structured six-minute introduction discussion,” said Connelly. “This session is important. It determines compatibility among the participants and is followed by an evaluation process where the committee determines the mentor/protégé pairs for the year.”

SMBH’s commitment to mentoring is found inside the firm as well. A formal mentoring process at SMBH pairs all newly hired engineers with an experienced mentor in the firm. Even if an experienced engineer is hired, they’re still new to the company and benefit from the mentoring relationship as much as a recent college graduate.

What SMBH has learned is that the mentoring relationship benefits all involved. Mentoring is a two-way learning process, and firms that are actively involved in mentoring stand apart as leaders in the industry.