New Vanderbilt Staff Mentorship Program to enhance employee experience

The Vanderbilt Staff Mentorship Program will launch with an informational event for prospective mentors and mentees at the Student Life Center Ballroom on Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 1 to 2:15 p.m.

All who are interested in learning more about the program are invited to the launch, which will include remarks by Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration, and Candice Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director. They will share words of wisdom from their own mentorship experiences.

The new mentorship program is among the recommendations coming out of the Future of Work initiative with support from the University Staff Advisory Council and the Staff Women’s Advancement and Equity Council.

Mentoring programs provide numerous benefits for mentors, mentees and organizations, according to Krystal Clark, co-chair of the mentorship program and director of Employee Learning and Engagement, Human Resources. “The benefits include increased employee engagement and retention; positive contributions toward equity, diversity and inclusion efforts; and support for personal and professional development,” Clark said. “In addition, mentoring programs can improve workplace culture, career growth and succession planning, and promotion of collaboration and teamwork.”

The goals of the Vanderbilt Staff Mentorship Program are to:

  • foster the professional and career growth of employees;
  • spark connections and offer access to potential mentors while also fostering a sense of connectedness, community and belonging;
  • create an opportunity for mentoring relationships to grow organically; and
  • begin to foster a culture of ongoing mentorship throughout the university.

To be eligible to serve as a mentor, you must:

  • meet one or more of the following criteria: be knowledgeable in your field or area, have a willingness to share about your experience at Vanderbilt and/or in your field, have vast experience at Vanderbilt University or in your field, or have unique experiences and skills;
  • be employed at Vanderbilt University for a minimum of 12 months;
  • be willing to devote at least three hours to the mentoring program during November and December;
  • be passionate about supporting the professional development of staff members; and
  • be in good standing with the university.

To be eligible to serve as a mentee, you must:

  • have completed your initial employee orientation period (90 days);
  • be prepared to discuss goals and career plans and appreciate alternative viewpoints and advice; and
  • be willing to devote at least three hours to the program during November and December.

The Vanderbilt Staff Mentorship Program is designed to spark organic mentoring relationships with a focus on connecting mentors and mentees. Each mentee will be able to meet with up to two different mentors. The expectation is that these are one-time mentoring conversations, providing opportunities to discuss career and professional growth one on one. Longer-term mentoring relationships may evolve but are not guaranteed. The continuation of the relationship will be determined by the mentee and mentor.

“We are calling on all eligible staff members to serve as a mentor, mentee or both,” said Krista Vaught, the program’s Human Resources partner and assistant director of Employee Learning and Engagement. “We will provide educational opportunities for both mentors and mentees to ensure that both parties feel prepared, knowledgeable and confident in taking on these roles.”

The other committee members are Lindsey Bunt, Danielle Certa (WAVE), Dominique Millen, Ben Morse, Sara Putnam (USAC) and Alex Wendt.

Registration is requested as seating is limited to 150 people. The launch will be recorded and made available to all registrants after the event. Those unable to attend the Oct. 18 event are still encouraged to register, as the program committee will follow up to provide all relevant information.

Applications to serve as a mentor or mentee will be available after the launch and are due on Oct. 27. Appointments between mentors and mentees are encouraged to take place Nov. 7–Dec. 16.

For questions, please email