Chicago Bridge Mentorship Program

Challenges Arise for Emerging Professionals

When it comes to professional growth in the field of aging, sometimes who you know is just as important as what you know. Chicago Bridge member Jaimie Robinson wrote about how┬áin a city like Chicago, networking is key to getting involved and recognized in the aging profession. For this reason, members of Chicago Bridge have created a Mentorship Program which will connect emerging and seasoned professionals in the field of aging. Since Chicago is an urban oasis of aging resources and expertise, it can cause emerging professionals to feel intimidated and overwhelmed – especially since many of the more experienced leaders are linked together in tight knit groups. It is difficult for outsiders to break through without an advocate at a higher level or a position with some importance. The mentorship program will help to combat these challenges and aid in the professional growth of new comers to the field.

The Mentorship Pilot Program

Beginning in April, fifteen Chicago Bridge members in the first five to seven years of their career will be matched with seasoned professionals in various aging arenas for the first-ever Chicago Bridge Mentorship Program. The thirty participants were carefully selected from a large pool of applicants by the Mentorship Subcommittee, which was formed specifically to monitor, lead, and improve the new initiative. Each mentor/mentee pair is responsible for the development and cultivation of the mentee’s career aspirations. Six communication sessions are required, which includes two in-person meetings. Mentors shall also introduce their mentee to one professional contact during the six-month pilot program and complete six week, three month, and final program evaluations that will allow the Subcommittee to monitor and make quality improvements for future Mentorship Programs.

High Quality Mentors Make the Program Stand Out

The Bridge has been fortunate to recruit an extremely high-quality mentor pool and will continue the recruitment process throughout the year. Current Mentor titles range from directors of older adult programs to executives in non-profit organizations. Mentorship Program matches were announced on Friday, March 12 – just before the American Society on Aging Conference. Each match was given the opportunity to meet their mentor/mentee at the American Society of Aging Conference during the Chicago Bridge Emerging Professional event held on Wednesday, March 17, 2010. This article was edited by Abby Smith. Photo courtesy of theunquietlibrarian on

One Comment

  • Aryn Rose Alschuler

    As I try to catch the attention of potential employers I also try to keep my long term goals in mind. Not started yet as a professional yet picturing myself as a successful counselor and advocate has been difficult.

    Long story short, I need the kind of mentoring that is outlined in the article above. Please let me know if this is a possibility for me soon.



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