Applications for the 2020 Mentorship Program are now closed.

MCN Mentorship group photos at MCN 2017

The MCN Mentorship Program offers a unique professional development opportunity whether you are a veteran or a newbie in the museum tech community. Participation in the MCN Mentorship Program helps you expand your professional network, build and grow leadership skills, practice personal communication strategies, and much more. Lasting only 9 months (January through November) but requiring regular commitments of time and energy, there is no better (or more fun) way to discuss and plan your career goals than with a trusted partner who can give you quality feedback from an objective point of view. Our program is flexible, but we have found that mentorship programs, like these are often best at helping to develop the communication and perspective “soft skills” that are often not the focus of traditional professional development programs. In particular, the MCN Mentorship Program focuses on helping people improve in the areas of:

  • Leadership and The Big Picture (e.g. strategic thinking, decision making, supporting vision, fostering innovation, and taking initiative)
  • Working with Others (e.g. team building, developing others, supporting work performance, relationship building, and valuing diversity)
  • Getting it Done (e.g. communicating, planning and organizing, managing projects, and being agile and adaptable)

For additional information on how we define these soft skills for members at different career levels, see our Soft Skills Matrix.

Membership Program FAQs

Do I need to be a member of MCN to participate in the mentorship program?
Yes, the MCN Mentorship program is an exclusively benefit of membership. You must be a current MCN member to participate and provide your Membership ID on the application form. Your Membership ID can be found on your Member Profile.

What are my chances of being successful paired?
Mentors and mentees are selected through an application process overseen by the MCN Board. The program is highly competitive and the number of matched pairs will vary from year to year depending on the ratio of mentor to mentee applicants. Our goals is to pair as many of the applicants as possible. Making a compelling case and being as clear as possible about your interests and expectations in your application will help us achieve a good match.

How much time should I expect to devote to this program?
The program runs every year from January to November. There will be one hour-long orientation (via videoconference) at the beginning of the program to help set expectations and provide guidance for how to get the most out of your participation. Each mentor/mentee pair is expected to meet at least once a month for at least one hour. Both mentors and mentees should also build in time to prepare for meetings and reflect afterward. Finally, the Mentorship Program Managers will ask for feedback (usually in the form of surveys or a virtual conference call) two to three times over the course of the program. All participants are expected to respond and participate in these feedback opportunities.

Should I apply to be a mentor or mentee?
This is probably the most difficult question for potential participants who are mid-career professionals. With five or more years of experience, you feel as though you have a lot to offer someone who has only been in the field for a year or two. On the other hand, if you are considering a transition or looking to move forward in your career you likely feel like you could really use the advice of a senior-level mentor. There is no right answer but we encourage you to consider what you hope to accomplish career-wise in the next 1–2 years and decide which role will better help you achieve your goals. Explain your justification in your application and we will do our best to match your appropriately.

Will I be able to meet with my partner in person or will all of our meetings be online?
Because of the international range of the MCN community, most pairs will not be in the same city or even same geographic region (although we do try to pair people in the same time zones). As a result, you should plan on virtual meetings as your primary mode of communication with your partner. We do encourage you to check and see if you are attending the same conferences or meetings for a chance to meet in person during the program.

Do I get something tangible out of participating in the program?
While MCN provides a framework to pair members of the community to engage in this program, it cannot guarantee a specific outcome. The value for each participant will generally depend on their respective effort and be proportionate to the investment of time put into it. MCN will also provide a certification of completion for all participants who finish the entirety of the program, which we hope will be useful for professional development purposes.

Anything else I should know?
Participants in the MCN Mentorship Program are expected to comply with the general guidelines of MCN’s Code of Conduct and mentees are expected to create a list of goals that they plan to accomplish by participating in the program. Additionally, all program participants are expected to complete at least a mid-year and an end-of-program survey. These evaluations are intended to improve the program year to year.

For additional questions email us at: [email protected].