Mentor, Advisor, Peer Group Program
Life Science professional women in the Southern California chapter of WIB sought on-going support for career transition and advancement. I founded the “MAPS” program to address that need.
In 2020, I accepted the leadership role for the Southern California Chapter as Chair and transitioned leadership of the MAPS program.
Strategy – Interviews with other program chairs and potential applicants informed decisions for program format. I launched the peer group program first, recruiting peer group leaders for each location, and training them prior to launch. Check-ins with peer group leaders mid cohort helps resolve issues rapidly and share best practices. I then developed two bi-annual SIP “Subject Interest Panels;” one focused on business operational roles, the other on clinical operational roles. Open to the public the SIP Panels cater to the transitioning life science professional eager to learn more about other roles and shares a taste of the peer group experience. Professionals share their experiences in a Q&A format. In 2020, I nurtured the opening of a mentoring circle program for 1:1 mentoring and personal goal plans by my team. I then launched an Executive Round Table program targeting C-level and VPs for a meaningful cohort annually. These executives were inspired to guest mentor in a newly formed Director’s Rising group as well. I also adopted the use of Slack for the chapter, established a system for rollout and training, leveraging multiple channels to facilitate communication between meetings.
Team – I recruited and trained 30+ life science professionals as peer group leaders and program co-chairs to support existing programs and co-chair the launch of additional programs including mentoring circles, executive round tables and professional development.
Deliverables – 1. A Peer Group Leader Responsibilities Guide. 2. Peer Group Plan.
3. Rosters and attendance tracker. 4. Brochure of portfolio of MAPS programs. 5. Guest Mentor and speaker applications. 6. SOP documents for each program and steering committee role for use in training and for succession. These tools established a consistent format across groups and quality control. The guide sets leader expectations and serves as a reminder during training. The Peer group plan lists recommended topics. The plan is completed with the group nailing down topic and format for each meeting so participants’ goals are met. The roster shares contact information but also serves to track attendance and make sure participation and/or retention issues are communicated and addressed.
- 400+ applicants have applied to date
- 9 peer groups with 15-20 enrolled participants meet monthly
- Launched an Executive Round Table with 5 meetings for a cohort of 27 C-level, Sr. VP and VP level executives
- Expanded peer group program beyond San Diego to Irvine and Los Angeles
- On average 10-15 participants attend each group consistently over a 6 month cohort
- The majority of the participants have opted to continue after the initial 6 months into the next cohort
- More than 1/5 of the active participants reported successful transitions to new jobs during the 6 month program
- The program recruited new members and helped the chapter exceed its membership goal
Founder’s Lab & Hackathon
How do you encourage and help jumpstart new nonprofit projects for Jewish community in San Diego? I created a Lab program that offers training and inspiration for founders, and a Hackathon to bring participants and founders together to work in teams to refine plans. The Hackathon granted seed funds for the projects with greatest impact and project founders participated in an idea acceleration phase with mentors. Many of the project founders joined the Lab and/or Fellowships for on-going training and support.
Strategy 85% of the Jewish community opts out of organizational programming. Many seek experiential and cultural programs aligned with their personal tastes and passions. I surveyed grassroots project founders to understand barriers to entry. Validating that it is hard to obtain funding and to recruit volunteers and participants, I planned a Hackathon to inspire people to build and bring in the curious to volunteer and participate. I recruited through social media inviting funders, participants and would be builders to an “Idea Slam” designed to collect ideas and encourage participation in the Hackathon later in the year. Founders were asked to film a 1 minute pitch. I combined the pitches in a video used on social media to recruit funders, participants for project teams and new projects for the Hackathon. The Lab provides workshops, engages indie project founders and provides on-going support.
Deliverables 1. Video of pitches 2. User Personas based on interviews with community members. 3. Sourced application for on-site, digital instant voting. 4. A series of quarterly workshops addressing topics ranging from fundraising, to collaboration and marketing. The video pitches were instrumental in recruiting all types of participants and were used to kickoff the Hackathon. Video pitches here. The day was a fast-paced design sprint in which participants chose user personas based on interviews with community members, framed challenges, imagined radical ideas to address the user need, and ultimately prototyped and tested their solutions. The Lab workshops continue annually and new fellowships are created for specialty areas.
- The Hackathon kicked off with 18 video pitches and an additional six live pitches, for a total of 24 project founders and ideas.
- Participants formed teams around their chosen project leaders, and ultimately we had 13 teams collaborating and pitching in the finals
- 5 winners received prizes of $2500 and professional development and coaching in an idea acceleration phase of the program and went on to expand their programs
- 1 of the 5 projects obtained significant additional funding post the Hackathon
- Over 12 projects are supported by the Lab and new founders continue to join
- 2 professional fellowships were planned offering 3rd party training in two specialty areas