The Mentoring Circles Session is a Must-Do at GHC 18

A young woman smiles and talks with a male attendee at a table at GHC 18

“If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it.” — Grace Hopper

Each year, the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) offers attendees an incredible lineup of events: workshops, keynotes, presentations, and networking socials. When you combine all of these options with GHC’s three-day career fair, just creating a schedule becomes a daunting task. Trying to fit it all in is something with which I still struggle (and 2018 will mark my fourth year as an attendee). There is one session, though, that is a must-do, especially for students and early career attendees: the Mentoring Circle session.

“The Mentoring Circles?” you exclaim in shock. “Really? But it’s at the same time as the opening of the GHC Expo. Shouldn’t I go there first?”

“Up to you,” I reply. “But at least hear me out — here are a few reasons to consider going to the Mentoring Circle session.”

Five Reasons to attend the Mentoring Circle Session

  1. Small groups: Each table at the Mentoring Circles has ten chairs — one for the mentor and nine for mentees. That’s a great speaker-attendee ratio.
  2. Mentors who care: The process to be a GHC speaker is rigorous and a volunteer effort. Speakers spend their own time and energy submitting a detailed proposal, preparing their talk, and showing up at GHC. Speakers are paying it forward to their peers; they want to help.
  3. Mentors who are experts: Mentoring Circle speakers have the experience and enthusiasm to advise others regarding their chosen topic.
  4. Variety of topics: You will find mentors discussing career paths, graduate studies, how to improve your job search, and work success skills. Check out the full topic list here.
  5. Meet multiple mentors: During the two and a half hour session, you’ll sit with a mentor for 20 minutes and then switch tables. This is enough time to meet six different experts.

“Hmm,” you ponder out loud. “Okay, the Mentoring Circle session sounds beneficial. How can I best prepare for it?”

“I’ve got a few ideas,” I say. “With 30 minutes of preparation, you’ll be ready for the session.”

Four ways to make the most of the Mentoring Circle Session

  1. Make a list: Check out the topic and speaker list. What topics interest you? Would you like to meet any of the speakers? Make a prioritized list of tables.
  2. Prepare a few questions: Jot down a few questions for the speakers ahead of time. You might receive some really helpful advice and your speaker will likely appreciate someone starting the discussion.
  3. Follow up: If you have a few additional questions for the mentor after the 20-minute session, politely ask if you can send them a follow-up email. Request their business card and maybe even leave your own.
  4. Be agile: If you see a topic that looks interesting or if you spot a table that has open mentee seats during the session, check it out! You may end up meeting a great mentor and receive more individualized advice.

“Okay, I can do that!” you state confidently.

“As Grace Hopper said, ‘If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it.’” I reply. “See you at GHC 18!”

GHC 18 Mentoring Circles: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | Start Time: 11:30 a.m. | End Time: 2 p.m.| Location: GRB Grand Ballroom B 

Filed under: Advice

GHCGHC 18Mentoring Circles