(with a shout out to @delta_dc for the blog post I will write...)
Nothing is more fun than debating with smart people. (ok really it ranks in my top 10 but it took top spot today) After a disappointing key note, I wondered if I had stumbled into the wrong conference. With ideas like "women need mentors to help them acceptable behaviours in a male-dominated world" or "the problem with having your direct supervisor as your mentor is they could be accused of nepotism"... well, you can imagine the sour face I was starting to make :-) Then it hit me...the problem with some research (and researchers) is that the conclusions often only map to yesterday's question.
So, understanding some of the folks presenting live and work in a 'bubble', I relaxed and mined for the gems.
One presentation on E-mentoring limited the concept of using technology to email (I would have called it 'text-based' mentoring?)... but the in-depth look at mentoring coupled with the study's struggle to understand the medium it was hoping to unlock gave me all kinds of ideas to bring home. Further, the study reinforced that either a prior face-to-face relationship must exist or technology should be included that allows for relationships to be built (web cams, phone calls, etc.) Obvious to those of us practicing; new to some folks still trying to bridge the gap between the checklist and the messy reality of mentoring in real life.
The emotional intelligence discussion - once the fellows got past their hard core sales pitch on how brilliant they are and how one should buy all their books - was a terrific level set on the expectations one can have for creating EI and how nothing can succeed without it.
Kudos to the Mentoring Institute Director Nora Dominguez who has brought together such an eclectic and passionate group of people. It will be worth watching how this conference continues to grow.