The CARA Mentorship Program: The Advantages to Mentees

Sarah Lampson, CARA Executive Director


When I started my role as Executive Director of CARA in 2013 one of the first new programs I established was our mentorship program. As a research administrator, my mentor was pivotal to my career advancement and I wanted everyone to learn about and take advantage of mentorship.

Here are some of the things I gained from my mentorship partnership with Mary Jane Sayles:

·         increased career confidence and engagement

·         increased our professional independence

·         reduced stress by easing my isolation in a highly specialized role (the only one in that role at my institution)

·         a richer perspective on risk, ethics and the impact of administrative policies on researchers, based on my mentor’s clinical background and expertise

Specifically Mary Jane:

·         provided me with access to workshops at her institution

·         shared information on webinars to broaden my expertise

·         advised me of learning opportunities such as conferences, articles and other readings

·         widened my professional network by introducing me to researchers and senior administrators at another institution I would not normally have met

·         assessed my abilities and helping me identify goals

·         attended a webinar I co-lead and providing me with positive, constructive feedback

·         urged her to think in a longer-term way about current aims and accomplishments

·         critiqued my résumé 

·         provided a professional reference

·         became a life long friend

Fully engaged in our busy, specialized roles, research administrators can easily miss opportunities to collaborate and grow through a mentorship program, but it is so beneficial it deserves our serious consideration. Not only is advantageous to individuals but also to institutions who reap the rewards mentorship can bring: more skills, more engagement, a broader perspective, and greater career satisfaction.

This blog is derived from the fourth edition of Steer Your Career: A Research Administrator's Manual to Mapping Success by Sarah Lampson and Katie Porter.