HBA Atlanta chapter 2013 mentoring program deemed a rousing success

Written by Durgalaxmi (Durga) Ramachandhiramani, market research analyst, The Myers Group

The HBA Atlanta chapter celebrated its fourth successful year of offering the mentoring program. In 2013, a total of 35 members (10 mentors and 25 mentees) participated, a whopping 300% increase in enrollment over the previous year’s mentoring group. The 2013 program was initiated by forming mentoring circles with two mentors and five mentees matching individual goals, geography as well as level of experience in the healthcare industry. The program helped mentees to use their time, wisdom and expertise on creating, working and achieving specific pragmatic and game-changing goals.

To learn further about some of the graduates’ accomplishments, Durgalaxmi “Durga” Ramachandhiramani, marketing and communications committee volunteer with the HBA Atlanta chapter, spoke with two mentees - Almisha Porcher and Hillery Goodgame, along with their mentor, Tiffanee Toms. The group shared their goals, expectations and experiences with the mentoring program and especially, how they were able to succeed in achieving their professional ambitions.

Reasons for joining the mentoring program:
Hillery and Almisha shared some of the key objectives that triggered their decision to join the mentoring program.

1) Receiving guidance to determine potential career paths and strategically advance in career.

2) Network with women in healthcare and expand professional network to new horizons.

Hillery looked forward to improving her leadership skills and ability to recognize and accept constructive feedback. Hillery also aspired to learn from her mentors and mentees to better identify and take advantage of opportunities to improve her technical and communication skills. On the other hand, Almisha aspired to earn her Six Sigma green belt certification in 2013, followed by a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and/or PMP certification in 2014. Tiffanee, who was a mentor, remarked that she wanted to give back the guidance and support that she had received in the past from her exemplary mentors. “When I started my career, I had a great mentor. I wanted to share my knowledge and act as guiding light for other mentees,” said Tiffanee.

The journey:
The mentees were encouraged to articulate their goals, gather feedback from the group and implement plans that enabled them to benchmark their progress towards specific goals.  “The monthly small group meetings were particularly helpful and invigorating,” said Hillery. The group shared and discussed insightful Harvard Business Review articles on leadership, effective communication and team building. The face-to-face, dine- and-discuss meetings also allowed mentees to share their workplace and career challenges and receive valuable, professional advice from mentors and mentees alike. They were advised how to communicate with colleagues and managers and find mentors within the company to achieve specific goals. 

Key learning and accomplishments:
Overall, the program allowed Tiffanee to achieve their goal of igniting the spark and planting the seeds among mentees to realize their strengths and develop their interpersonal and leadership skills in the advancement of their careers.

During the HBA Atlanta chapter mentoring program Summer seminar series, HBA board member Martha Forlines, president of Belief Systems Institute, a leadership consultancy, the mentees learned more about their individual communication styles. Using the DISC behavior style assessment, Martha shared valuable insight for the mentees to analyze personality and professional style. “The DISC  behavior style assessment session empowered me, by suggesting that I take an attitude of active awareness of others’ and my own personal and professional styles, while becoming more cognizant of how personality and personal style can affect perceptions, decision making, communication styles and leadership perspectives in the workplace,” said Hillery. The DISC assessment has been a guiding light to the mentees in learning the strategies to communicate more effectively and better collaborate with their co-workers.

The DISC behavior style assessment as well as the communication tidbits offered by the group helped Almisha demonstrate how her strengths and skills could add value to her team and organization upon receiving the prestigious Six Sigma training and certification. Almisha successfully received her green belt after learning to confidently communicate how the certification would be useful in monitoring and trending data and thereby reduce defects within the company’s processes while increasing efficiency and overall quality. Further, Almisha takes pride in saying that the guidance from her group has been instrumental in instilling the confidence in her to take calculated risks.

Besides fulfilling the individual goals of the mentees, the mentoring program has been instrumental for the mentees to identify, navigate and skillfully use web-based professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. Mentees learned how to build their own brand and have the right opportunities knock on their doors.

It is certainly evident that the mentoring program has been a truly empowering and rewarding experience for all the participants. The mentoring journey of this group does not end with their great accomplishments. The mentoring program has indeed, allowed this group of women to be tightly knitted and have an everlasting relationship. The group members still continue to meet and support each other as “cheerleaders” to overcome any number of challenges and achieve success in every step of their professional development.

The 2014 mentoring program
Have you just begun your career? Or are you mid-career seeking the next level? Are you ready to explore your strengths? Do you want to grow as a leader? Or, are you a leader who wants to increase several skill sets of your own? Do you want to develop long lasting relationships of compassion and wisdom? Come and join the HBA Atlanta chapter’s 2014 mentoring program today. Please contact Lynn Duran if you have any questions. Good luck.

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