Mentor Circles are a new way for alumni mentors in the Mentorship Program to share their expertise with student and alumni mentees. Mentor Circles are a one-time or repeating discussion led by an alumnus/a with a group of two to twelve students or alumni participating.
How does a Mentor Circle work?
The mentor chooses the theme, typically their field or a career topic like navigating career transitions or work-life balance; determines how many alumni or students they’d like to have participate; and applies to host a circle. When a host is approved they will then set a date, time, and location; the Mentorship Program administrator will assist with promoting the circle and recruiting mentees; and alumni or students will sign-up to participate in the circle via the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program platform.
Before the first discussion, all participants will be added to a private group that will allow for the host and participants to communicate via the platform to coordinate logistics and gather ideas for what participants would like to cover in the discussion. This group will remain open after the Mentor Circle date for 3 months to allow for continued discussion and/or scheduling follow up meetings.
Mentor Circles are typically held in-person, anywhere in the world, but can also be held via Skype or Google hangouts if the mentor prefers that format and wants to make their circle available to mentees living outside of their area. Most in-person Mentor Circles take place in offices, restaurants, or coffee shops.
What are the benefits?
Often alumni can only spare an hour or two and this program provides the opportunity to expand the reach of their expertise by mentoring multiple people at once for a short period of time.
Mentees have the opportunity to learn from an industry or content expert and ask questions in a small group setting. They can also benefit by serving as peer mentors to one another and meeting other alumni or students with similar career interests, thus expanding their Northwestern network.
Who can apply to be a Mentor Circle host?
All alumni participants of the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program are eligible to host a Mentor Circle. Hosts can be at any stage in their career. Students and alumni enjoy connecting with senior leaders as well as those who are just a year or two ahead of them, so you don’t have to be a CEO, just an expert or well versed on the topic you’ll be leading a discussion on.
What’s the host application process?
Alumni mentors can apply to host a Mentor Circle by filling out the application. We will review each application individually to strategically host Mentor Circles that best meet the needs of our student and alumni mentees. Applicants can expect to hear back from the program administrator within two weeks to setup a phone call to discuss the circle.
Apply here to be a host - alumni.northwestern.edu/mentorcirclehostapplication
Learn more about the expectations of Mentor Circle hosts and attendees by reviewing the Mentor Circles Handbook.