What is Speed Mentoring, you might ask. Speed mentoring is essentially a series of brief, focused discussions around specific themes or questions. The goal is to connect students with faculty members and to identify potential mentors. To start off, mentors briefly introduced themselves to each group, providing essentially an elevator pitch — their name and area of work. Mentees then asked mentors either their own questions or questions from a list provided to them to prompt discussion. The prompts were aimed at extracting unique experiences at every level of academic growth.
Examples covered topics such as challenges mentors faced, their own experiences finding mentors, and advice on time management and choosing specialties. Women, specifically, find it more challenging than their male counterparts to identify mentors and to develop relationships with mentors due to time constraints and personal responsibilities.
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This is amplified for women physicians in male-dominated career fields, such as surgery, anesthesiology, or emergency medicine. Many sources, such as this Guide for Medical Faculty , show that women tend to seek less mentoring and gain less from their mentor-mentee relationship than male counterparts. We know that if a mentoring relationship is successful, it can serve as a critical launch pad to a successful career in leadership.
Speed mentoring events can facilitate the development of connections that help develop women leaders. A speed mentoring event provides a structured opportunity to spark connections that can be nurtured over time, and to create a time and place for attendees to seek out and connect with individuals in a fast-paced manner.
Frequently a brief meeting is enough time for individuals to identify if a natural affinity and connection exists to take the conversation to the next level. Medical students found the event particularly useful.
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