International Mentoring Day is January 17th!



GOVERN for IMPACT Celebrates International Mentoring Day
January 17th!


By Athens Kolias

Much is made about sustainability goals, justice-equity-diversity-inclusion (JEDI), and succession planning.  These are important goal areas and one way towards achieving them is through mentoring.  What’s interesting is that mentoring can take many forms: formal, informal, individual, and even group mentoring.

In Mentoring’s blog, Eli A. Wolff and Mary A. Hums write:

Mentoring is a powerful tool for raising awareness and understanding diversity and inclusion, helping us to recognize the importance of advocacy and being advocates for ourselves and others. Mentoring, whether formal or informal, reinforces the power of relationships and contributes to creating a better world.”

For governance boards, mentoring is especially useful. Today’s boards often include one or more young professionals as Board Observers or serving on a Shadow Board. This job-shadowing helps professionals learn by direct observation about how a board works. It is from these mentees that a board can develop a pipeline of potential successors and these successors can see the path towards board service. 

It is also so important for an existing board to allow themselves to learn from the voices of the professionals at the table. They bring important current-day perspectives and experiences about social justice, diversity and inclusion, equity, and fairness. It’s the board’s job to envision the future, and what better way than to bring the future into the boardroom?

In Policy Governance® we strongly support the need for Board Education. Of course, traditional education modalities should be included, but how rich is the education gained by a board which is open to flipping the mentoring paradigm? This two-way mentoring mechanism doesn’t stand alone – it creates and is created by mentoring relationships.

 Mentoring relationships help us to broaden our lens for diversity and inclusion, allowing us to see others as people first while moving beyond labels and stereotypes. Mentors and mentees can help each other to redefine “normal” and move to “typical”, creating visibility for individuals or communities previously living as invisible to greater society. Through mentorship, we can expand our minds, hearts, and vision toward race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, culture. This is the power of mentoring. All are welcome in the mentoring space”.

And so, on International Mentoring Day, observed annually on January 17th, we encourage you to consider developing a mutually beneficial mentoring ecosystem where all can learn from each other, and the future can be part of today!


Athens Kolias, MPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, PGP, advocates for including the next generations’ voices into today’s issues, regardless of age, background, or expertise. She shares knowledge through her service on Govern for Impact’s Strategic Leadership Team and as a seasoned instructor of Project Mgmt courses. Connect at:

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