Each year, October 27 celebrates National Mentoring Day, a time to appreciate and encourage mentoring in all its many forms. As a company that strives to Be A Fuel For Good, we know mentoring is a valuable part of any workplace experience, so we thought today would be the perfect opportunity to highlight our new TrailBlaze Mentorship Program, which we also wrapped up for the year yesterday with an official ceremony celebrating the participants.
The planning for TrailBlaze started a few years ago after an employee engagement survey revealed that employees were looking for more ways to grow, said Aisha DeBerry., Gas South’s Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It then took about another year’s worth of planning, she said, launching in February of this year and lasting for nine months.
"It’s been a great success," she said. "The mentors and mentees had an opportunity to engage and create meaningful relationships as well as gain perspective for growth."
Before the official kickoff in February, mentees and mentors both were required to fill out an application. Mentees described what they were looking for, which, Aisha said, included topics like networking, creating a social presence, how to provide and receive feedback, financial literacy, planning for retirement and more.
Mentors, who were asked to have specific skills, experience in leadership or mentoring, listed the subject areas and topics they were qualified to mentor on, Aisha said. And then mentees and mentors—a total of 24 this year—were paired up, with mentees setting the pace for interactions.
Here’s a little from a few of this year’s participants:
"As a mentee, I had a great experience in the TrailBlaze Mentorship Program," said Senior Quality Assurance Specialist Berenice M. "The program intentionally connects people while being well-structured, professional and organized. Gas South has never had an experience like this before, and I’m excited to know it will be replicated for others in the future. My mentor, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer David M., was very open-minded, well-informed and happy to discuss his own challenges in the workplace and in everyday life. He was motivating, authentic and inspiring. I’ve learned important lessons and developed relationships, and that’s invaluable. I’m incredibly appreciative of my excellent experience."
"Our TrailBlaze program really exemplifies one aspect of what it means to Be A Fuel For Good here at Gas South: looking out for employees," said mentor and Vice President of Sales Jason D. "Even though we’re in the first year of the program, it’s proven to be one more way we’re able to offer growth and opportunities for the folks who put in so much hard work and effort here—professionally and personally. I’m honored to have taken part this year as a mentor—and I learned a lot about myself as a leader, too. I look forward to the continued success of TrailBlaze in years to come."
Financial Analyst Rica D., one of this year’s mentees, said, "It was such an honor to be a part of the inaugural cohort of the TrailBlaze mentorship. This experience afforded me the opportunity to connect with a senior leader whom I wouldn’t have had the chance to learn from in my normal course of business and who’s been so valuable to further my understanding of the company as a whole and the development of my career. Thank you, Gas South!"
"The TrailBlaze program provided me, as a mentor, the opportunity to challenge myself to grow for my mentee and myself," said Lead Application Developer Sue R.
"As I provided guidance, I found I needed to hear the same things, and it allowed me to self-motivate and broaden my perspective," Sue said. "I experienced an incredible sense of joy as I watched my mentee break down barriers, overcome fears and adjust her mindset to work toward her goals. Mentorship is about building relationships, sharing knowledge, guiding and encouraging others, but it’s also about seeing new perspectives, providing mentors the opportunity to grow and learn from their mentees and building up our employees so they can continue fine tuning their strengths, overcoming weaknesses and working toward the best version of themselves."
Gas South is thrilled at the success of this new mentorship program, and we’re excited at the growth opportunities it presents for the future of the company and the people who work here.