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Virtual Mentorship Fosters Diverse and Inclusive Networks

By / Oct 16, 2020 (Drazen_/E+/Getty Images Plus)

The current environment amplifies the need for mentorship. Thanks to a new partnership, underrepresented HR professionals will be able to access a virtual mentoring platform at a time when opportunities for traditional professional networking are limited.

Mentoring is among the many in-person activities the pandemic has reshaped into a virtual one, at a time when professionals need professional support, guidance, and advice the most. A new partnership between Mentor Spaces, a virtual mentorship platform, and the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources is fostering group mentorship opportunities for NAAAHR members and corporate partners.

With everyone isolated at home because of the pandemic, “underrepresented talent will suffer the most because the ‘serendipitous collisions’ that happen with colleagues in the physical workplace are no more,” said Chris Motley, founder and CEO of Mentor Spaces. “Those were the opportunities to connect with someone, learn from their experiences, and advance your career.”

Mentor Spaces helps companies scale their diversity and inclusion efforts, and NAAAHR provides resources, networking, career opportunities, mentorship, and coaching to enhance its members’ careers and position them to contribute to achieving their organizations’ strategic goals.

“We are continuously identifying new opportunities for our members to connect and grow their personal and professional networks via mentorship,” said Erika Broadwater, national president of NAAAHR, in a press release. “While the pandemic has prevented in-person mentorship opportunities, Mentor Spaces has found a new and innovative way for Black professionals to make virtual connections.”

The partnership will provide opportunities for NAAAHR members and nonmembers to become mentors on the platform and give them a resource to build inclusive talent pipelines across the United States. Mentor Spaces matches proteges to groups with mentors assigned to them, which reduces the pressure on compatibility, Motley said, and helps encourage better information sharing.

NAAAHR members will also be able to find mentors on Mentor Spaces through career-interest groups led by mentors. For now, the mentorships are group-based only because one-to-one mentoring doesn’t scale as well virtually, he said. “We expect those relationships to form organically outside of the platform.”

There is a private space on the platform where participants will have a chance to network with each other, communicate best practices, and share experiences. Private spaces are a key component of the platform because it allows companies to leverage them to attract new talent through mentorship and facilitate mentorship within an organization between new hires and mid-level professionals, Motley said. The private spaces can be visible or invisible to the outside world, or even invite-only. “Flexibility is key.”

“This partnership will allow NAAAHR members to have a voice on the Mentor Spaces platform and give them an opportunity to connect with underrepresented talent who want to learn more about HR,” he said.

Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. More »

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