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August 5, 2002

Mentor Emory aims to link staff women

By Stephanie Sonnenfeld

Dreamer Graves will have worked at Emory for nine years come September. In those nine years, she’s been advancing consistently within her department, starting as a warehouse data entry clerk and rising to her current job as a warehouse supervisor.

She said she wants to keep advancing—eventually to her department’s upper management level. “That’s somewhere I would like to be,” Graves said. “I want to make a difference.”

As a participant of the newly created Mentor Emory program, Graves said she is taking steps to map out her career path.

Mentor Emory, which debuted last month specifically for staff women at Emory, is a joint project of Human Resources and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) that pairs younger female employees seeking career advice, guidance and development with more experienced female staff members. Graves and her mentor, Debbie Moyers, director of Resource Planning, are one of six pairs test-driving Mentor Emory.

“The women at Emory need role models,” Graves said. “Having someone to help me as I go gives me more confidence.”

Career confidence, guidance, direction and support are all ideas Mentor Emory coordinators hope the program imparts to both its mentors and mentees.

“A mentoring program can be an important career development tool,” said Facilities Management’s Elaine Gossett, a PCSW staff concerns committee member who helped develop Mentor Emory. “Oftentimes women do not realize all that goes into ‘building’ a career and ‘paving’ a career path."

Mentor Emory finds its roots in the PCSW’s 1998 survey, Invisible Barriers to the Advancement of Women, a 148-page report with quantitative data from female staff members that included suggestions for programs that could enhance the work environment for women. Three years and countless discussions later, work began on creating a mentoring program for staff women.

Last January, Gossett and Residence Life’s Marsha Hendricks, a PCSW staff concerns committee member, met with the organizers of a mentoring program at Georgia Tech. Armed with the lessons they learned, the PCSW members teamed up to research more mentoring programs with Pat Douglass, Adair Maller and Beth Grubb of Human Resources, along with Marilyn Hazzard Lineberger of the Emory Well House.

What emerged was Mentor Emory and its mission to “introduce female employees seeking career enrichment to experienced female staff … to empower female staff member to develop their abilities.”

“It’s important for all women and for all people to have a mentor,” said Douglass, assistant vice president for Human Resources. “With the diversity of careers available within Emory, female staff have unlimited opportunities to learn from the best.”

While mentees will receive career coaching and participate in workshops to enhance their career skills, mentors will share practical experiences and advice from their own careers. The two will be paired on professional skills, career goals and areas of expertise.

Following their initial orientation in July, the six initial program pairs will meet again for two scheduled “lunch and learn” sessions this month and in October, and will assess the program along the way. Most of the meetings between mentor and mentee will be conducted independently among the pairs, Douglass said.

“Going forward, we will evaluate the program in December through feedback from the mentors and mentees,” Douglass added. “What [program administrators] will do from time-to-time is offer skills building sessions for the mentees as well as for the mentors. Then we’d like to do an assessment periodically of the mentors and mentees to see how [the program] is doing.”

Although the program has already matched six pairs, Mentor Emory is accepting applications from mentees and mentors on a rolling basis.

“There is no deadline. As a mentee comes in and wants to be paired with a mentor, and we have one on board, we match them,” Douglass said.

For more information on the program and to download an application, visit its website at or contact Adair Maller at 404-727-7591 or