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Professional Mentoring Program Details
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The OIWC Professional Mentoring Program  

Thank you for your interest. The Application Process for 2016 has closed.

  • Mentee Application - CLOSED  Will open August 3-Oct 3, 2016 for the 2017 program.
  • Mentor Application (contact Amy Luther)

Program Mission
The Professional Mentoring Program seeks to increase retention and career satisfaction of female employees by facilitating one-on-one learning and professional development opportunities between director or manager level women and VP or higher level women. The program strives to create a tradition of mentoring within the Outdoor, Snow, Bike and Run Industries that will ultimately result in more diversified leadership teams.

Program Vision
The Professional Mentoring Program aims to become a model for integrating and supporting mentoring experiences that enhance respect, inclusion, and gender equity at all levels of the workplace.


The OIWC Mentoring Program has been an incredible experience. Not only has it been instrumental in guiding my current and future career, but it has given me reason, focus and enthusiasm to drive my career forward. I have made a special bond with my mentor and I am confident that we will stay in contact for many years to come. Huge kudos and thanks to the OIWC for their passion for and execution of a great program!

Robin Hall, CIO, Smartwool



What are the necessary qualifications to apply as a mentee?

Watch the webinar on 'Tips for Applying as a Mentee' for the inside scoop on what you need to know for the application process.

  1. Manager or director level woman
  2. Currently employed in the Outdoor, Snow, Bike, or Run Industries with 3-7 years experience
  3. Current OIWC member for at least 6 months
  4. Manage people
  5. Willingness to assess areas of development and ownership of plan to attain goals
  6. Able to commit to a 9 month mentoring relationship that is mentee driven
  7. Able to commit to at least 2 hours a month

What are the necessary qualifications to be a mentor?

  1.  VP level or higher
  2. Exhibit industry culture
  3. Have expertise in their professional arena
    1. Years of experience in the outdoor industries
    2. Title/Job grade in company
  4. Proven people development abilities
  5. Utilize strong communication skills
  6. Active member of OIWC
  7. Able to commit to 9 month mentoring relationship
  8. Able to commit to at least 2 hours a month

What can I expect?

Expectations of Mentors:

  1. Provide candid and open conversations
  2. Empowering the mentee to succeed and take risk
  3. Challenging (and then supporting) the mentee
  4. Working with the mentee to develop goals and outcomes
  5. Not getting between the mentee and their manager
  6. Being open to personal growth that may appear during process
  7. LISTENING! Helping create a plan and holding the mentee accountable to their decisions
  8. Being committed to the relationship with consistent communication
  9. Setting the mentee up for success

Expectations of Mentee:

  1.  Commitment to take initiative with respect to mentoring relationship
  2. Establish communication guidelines with mentor- meeting times and frequency
  3. Being open and accepting of both praise and critique
  4. Regularly reviewing goals and objectives
  5. Contributing activity ideas to partnership
  6. Sharing good news as well as asking for help with challenges
  7. Exhibits ability to improve certain skill areas 
  8. The mentee is the one driving the mentor/mentee relationship

How does the program work?

  1. The mentoring relationship will run from January-October.  Exact timing will be determined by the matched pair with a minimum of 9 months.
  2. Mentees will be matched with a VP level or higher women in the Outdoor, Snow, Bike, or Run Industries.
  3. The matching will be based on a variety of characteristics including: experience of mentors based on mentees needs, geographic location, career interests and personality.
  4. All participants will be required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement.
  5. All participants will be required to sign a Mentoring Agreement.
  6. Required participation by mentors and mentees in surveys and assessment to help gauge the health of the program and relationships.

Why the focus on director/manager level women?

83% of women in middle management have the desire to move to the next level in their company

(McKinsey Report–Feb 2011)

Many leadership programs are targeted at women performing at the VP level and higher. By targeting only at this level, companies miss out on the women who want, and need help, to advance.  These women are the aspiring future leaders who get trapped at middle management positions and become discouraged and/or leave the company to advance. This negligence of developing mid-management females is where businesses lose the highest percentage of high-potential women, and the return on their investment in their employees as well.

More women who make it to senior management share an aspiration to lead, and more believe that getting to senior leadership is worth the cost. Advancing more women into these positions would, over time, help companies rebalance their executive committees, which increases the likelihood of sustaining gender diversity at every level to the top.

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