In November 2019, the Young Planners Group (YPG) opened applications to the SDAPA Mentorship Program for the 2019-2020 academic year. We began this program strong, welcoming new mentors and mentees, and hosting our kickoff event in January which successfully introduced nearly 50 mentees to mid-level and senior-level mentors. Following the kickoff, the YPG Mentorship Committee created mentorship groups, partnering mentees with mid-level and senior-level mentors based on similarities in career interests and personal motivations. However, as groups were just beginning to meet regularly and build relationships…COVID-19 hit. For a program focused almost entirely on in-person meetings and networking socials, we found ourselves in a difficult position to adapt the Mentorship Program in the face of this pandemic.

Now that this year’s cycle has come to an end, we have the opportunity to re-evaluate the goals of the Mentorship Program and identify how we can facilitate meeting these goals in a remote-work environment. As COVID-19 has shown us, we have to be adaptable and rely on our strong professional network for guidance and support when the world around us changes.

That brings us to Mentorship 2.0: Mentorship in the era of Covid-19. This year we will communicate differently, work differently, and explore our professional relationships differently. We are adapting the Mentorship Program to be reflective of these changes and to be supportive of our San Diego planners – of all professional levels. Especially in this difficult time, our goal will be to support a Mentorship Program that is mutually beneficial for mentees and mentors.

While we have been working with our previous mentees and mentors to start crafting Mentorship 2.0, we are still in a stage of listening and learning. As we all continue to adapt to our new, virtual lives, we are looking for additional input to help us make it the best program it can be! Please complete the brief survey below (5 to 10 minutes) and let us know what aspects of the Mentorship Program would benefit you most, and what program structure would work best for you.

Link to survey:

While our new world of virtual networking will result in overarching changes to the structure of the Mentorship Program, we hope that it will continue to facility new connections, build the planning community in the region, and continue to create personal relationships that cross age-groups, professional levels, and practice areas.

Photo credit: Mimi Morisaki; featuring (clockwise from top left) Eva Gabriel, Poonam Boparai, and Mimi Morisaki.