Women's Mentoring Program - Lessons Learned > Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
February 02, 2023

Women's Mentoring Program - Lessons Learned

At the end of our HPBExpo ’22 show in Atlanta, I was asked if I would like to lead the second round of our Women’s Mentoring Program. As someone who is young in her career and a mentee themselves, I was hesitant but excited to take a leadership role and gain such valuable experience.

The Women’s Mentoring Program was initially developed by Rachel Feinstein, our former Senior Manager – Government Affairs. She was a 10+ year veteran in the industry with a keen interest in women empowerment but moved onto a new job at a new company in early 2022. HPBA needed someone to take over the running of this program and turned to me. I knew that I had big shoes to fill, but I received great support from Rachel and our Director of Communications, Emily McGee, to take on such an important role.

Here’s some insight into my experience in leading this program, my first professional experience taking the lead on a project of this magnitude.

From adolescence to adulthood, I participated in camps, leadership organizations, and community service initiatives, which has helped me understand the importance of networking and building relationships. So, for the second year of the program, my goal was for the participants to walk away with a new connection in the industry. With the help of HPBEF’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Amie Ryan, we paired the mentors and mentees based on their career aspirations, what they were seeking in a mentor/mentee, and other general interests. 

In addition, based on the feedback given from the first Women’s Mentoring Program in 2021, we provided more resources and engaging activities to help guide them during the program. To further meet those requests in that feedback, I provided a discussion topic and held a group call once a month. These new additions were designed to enhance their experience, drive conversations during the mentor and mentee calls, and provide shared experiences across our participants.  

As the program concluded and we received feedback, I considered the areas that need improvement and how to create a more valuable experience. These are important lessons learned for the next iteration of the program.

Overall, we received positive feedback on the new additions and helpful suggestions to be applied for upcoming program years. I believe this program and other programs alike extend beyond establishing relationships with other women in the industry, but also can uplift and guide the next generation to keep our industry alive and adaptable.

The 2023 Women’s Mentoring Program is accepting applications. HPBA members – be on the lookout for more information.

Posted in: Blog, General HPBA
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