Mentoring Matters

The AESS strives for the professional growth of its members and is particularly committed to promoting and sustaining the interest of students and young professionals in engineering fields that traditionally fall under the AESS.  We recognize that active engagement and collaboration between experienced and young AESS members is a catalyst for effective integration within our community. This important process should not be left to chance. This is why we have implemented a structured program that helps to connect students and young professionals with more experienced AESS members for a two-way exchange.

The AESS has an excellent core of distinguished international members distributed across industry, academia, and government, who are experts in their field and who are willing to share their time and experience to develop future leaders in the areas of:
 

  • Gyro and Accelerometer
  • Radar Systems
  • Space Systems
  • Aerospace Systems Integration Engineering Technical
  • Target Tracking Systems
  • Aerospace Control & Guidance Systems
  • Cyber Security
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • Avionics Systems

The program allows participants the complete flexibility to manage the frequency, duration, and method of interaction in a way that suits both the Mentor and Mentee. The AESS promotes a wide range of networking and mentorship styles with a spectrum of benefits tailored to individual participants. More information can be found in the Mentor and Mentee areas below as well as on the Testimonials pages. The AESS provides ongoing guidance and support for participants to get the most out of the program.

Participation in the program requires mentees and mentors to be AESS members. Mentees may be members of any grade. Student and young professional participation is highly encouraged. Mentors must be above student member grade. Instructions on how to become an AESS member can be found here.

Sign up today and join this exciting new initiative designed to bring our community together. We trust you will enjoy the experience and reap the rewards.

Mentoring Program Important Tips

In preparation for your first session, mentees should take some time to consider the following:

The first time you meet can be a time of nervousness or apprehension for both parties. The best way of dealing with this is good preparation. The first time you meet may set the mood and the ethos for future meetings.
 

  • Think about your own experiences. List and describe the skills you have, and think about these as strengths that can assist your mentee.
  • Who takes the initiative – you or them?
  • Where do you meet – in work or out of work? Do you go to them or do they come to you?
  • Agree on how long the first meeting will be in advance. It is good discipline to show that you are going to time manage the meetings productively from the start.
  • Prepare a list of three or four things to talk about to get the conversation going. Make these fairly neutral in the first instance so that you can break the ice and make the mentee comfortable.
  • Prepare a short introduction about yourself to provide the mentor with some background on your education and/or employment history.
  • Take time to find out about your mentor and prepare some questions to help you get to know his or her perspectives on matters of interest.
  • Talk to other people who have been part of a mentoring program. They can share relevant skills and experiences.
  • Think about your own experiences, list and describe the skills you have, and be prepared to talk about your goals and aspirations.
  • Reflect on what developmental plans you may need in order to reach your goals and aspirations and how mentoring can help.  Be prepared to discuss this with an open mind.
  • Prepare to actively listen more than you talk.
  • It is good practice to discuss and get some broad agreement early on about the basic meeting structures in the future – what you’re going to talk about, what are you going to tackle, and so on. This helps set context and scope.
  • How often should meetings take place?  Where and when are you going to meet?  How long will you meet for?  When will you revise progress?
  • Are your sessions going to be general, free-flowing discussions, or are they going to be more structured?
  • Will sessions be formal or informal?  Do you want to have an agenda?  Should records be kept?
  • Discuss how much initiative the mentee will take, and how much you will want or need the mentor to take going forward.
  • Seek agreement on what each session is going to be about at the outset.
  • Who takes charge, or takes the lead in setting the agenda
  • Should records be kept?
  • Does the mentee prefer the mentor to take a directive style or a low key style?
  • How much responsibility or initiative will the mentee take, and how much will they want or need the mentor to take?

Mentor

  • Express your capabilities and what you can offer as a mentor early on
  • Specify your goals at the start of the mentorship
  • Be available for your mentee, initiate contact and encourage discussion
  • Initiate contact. Spend minimum 30 minutes a week
  • Communicate honestly with your mentee
  • Think outside the box, connect mentee with others in industry
  • Set aside time to understand your mentee and communicate honestly
  • Help to connect the mentee with peers in the professional community
  • Be patient with mentee’s development and progress

Mentee

  • Be upfront with your mentor in stating your goals and aspirations
  • Commit time to pursue identified developmental plans or activities
  • Communicate with your mentor and actively steer your partnership
  • Respect your mentor and their time
  • Provide alternate methods of development to your mentor
  • Take time to get to know your mentor aside from mentorship
  • Understand that obstacles may arise and can be overcome

Mentoring Program Guidelines and Expectations

The first meeting

Get to know each other/establish rapport:

  • Take your preparation notes with you to your first meeting to help guide the discussion
  • Discuss your objectives for the mentoring relationship 
  • Share information about your professional life, and personal life where appropriate
  • Learn something about each other.

You may wish to discuss the following:

  • Objectives/goals for the mentoring relationship
  • Confidentiality
  • When and where will you meet?
  • How will you schedule meetings?
  • How will you communicate between meetings?
  • What agenda format will you use?
  • Will there be any fixed agenda items to be discussed at every meeting?
  • How will you exchange feedback?
  • How will you measure success?

Confirm next steps

After each meeting you have the option of filling out the Mentoring Log and you should discuss the date, time and place of future meetings.