Mentors make the difference.
A core value of AlumniCorps and a central feature of the Princeton Project 55 Fellowship Program is mentorship. AlumniCorps is an intergenerational organization, and we believe that civic leadership is learned through experience, reflection, and relationship. We practice this belief in part by matching each Project 55 fellow with a mentor. Sometimes that mentor is a member of the Class of 1955 who has been involved with AlumniCorps for 25 years, and sometimes it is a former fellow who is just a few years out of school. Many of our mentors are mid-career professionals who find value in connecting with and coaching young graduates who are moving to a new city and working in the public interest.
In all cases, Project 55 mentors are volunteers who serve as some combination of a friend, adviser, listener, guide, and advocate. The mentor is a person with whom the fellow can share concerns, discuss issues, and develop contacts. Mentors ask their fellows about their work placement and provide professional and career advice. Mentors are also encouraged to introduce their fellows to their new city by taking them out for a meal or to a sporting event, facilitating new professional contacts, and attending Project 55 seminars and social gatherings. We ask that mentors keep in touch with their fellows regularly, particularly at the beginning of the year. It is up to the mentor and fellow to determine the frequency and method of contact based on the needs and interests of the fellow. Where appropriate, mentors are also encouraged to visit their fellows’ partner organizations to get a better sense of the daily work environment and responsibilities.
Project 55 mentors can come from any professional background and will be matched with fellows based on mutual interests. The time commitment varies, though we do expect mentors to be available to their fellow for the duration of the fellowship year (July through June). If you are interested in mentoring a fellow, please email Volunteer Coordinator Frank Cruz ’89 at FCruz@alumnicorps.org. Matches are made in the summer for the following year. AlumniCorps currently assigns mentors in the following locations: Boston, Chicago, Connecticut (Norwalk and Stamford), New Jersey (Newark and Princeton/Trenton), New York City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, DC.
The talented young managers enrolled in AlumniCorps’ Emerging Leaders program have been working in the nonprofit and social impact sectors for a few years. They have shown great promise and aspire to lead organizations and campaigns that create real change. Through the Emerging Leaders program they have access to peer support, professional coaching, and facilitated instruction on nonprofit skills, leadership competencies, and management training. What they need now is an adviser who can tell them what it’s really like to lead effective organizations and devote a career to social impact.
Emerging Leaders advisers are public and nonprofit sector professionals who commit to one or two network-and-learning conversations with aspiring young leaders in New York City and Washington, DC. The goal of these conversations is for our program participants to learn more about and to network with leaders in their field. A more modest time commitment than regular mentorship, volunteering as an Emerging Leader adviser allows you to share your professional insight and experience with an exceptional and committed young professional. Matches are made based on area of practice, current role, and experience, and topics can include anything from tips and best practices in specific areas to general career advice.
We are currently looking for more nonprofit and social impact sector professionals to join our adviser network. If you are interested in volunteering as an Emerging Leaders adviser for the 2014-15 program, please complete this short interest form no later than October 20, 2014.