THE TORONTO MODEL
NAIOP wanted to replicate Toronto’s program, but Toronto wasn’t a typical chapter—it’s the second largest with nearly 1,500 members and several staff. NAIOP needed a mentoring program that would work for all chapters, even small ones with one part-time employee.
At first, Courtney looked into off-the-shelf software but that proved to be too costly. Instead she made a deal with the creators of Mentorship Rocket to produce a customized, branded version of the platform to allow all NAIOP chapters to use it at no cost.
“We knew this software would probably be most beneficial to smaller chapters that don’t have the staff or financial resources to implement a mentoring program.”
HOW NAIOP’S CHAPTER MENTORING PROGRAM WORKS
The basic elements of the NAIOP chapter mentoring program are based on the original Toronto model. Mentors upload their bio, photo and available dates for their mentoring sessions. The mentor base is built first so their names, bios and availability are in the portal before it opens to mentees. Each chapter mentorship program has an exclusive and chapter-branded micro site within the portal.
When the program opens to mentees, they go in, mentors and pick a mentoring dates. In Toronto, spots for 500 mentees can fill up within ten minutes of opening.
ROLLING OUT THE NAIOP MENTORING PROGRAM
The ATD report recommends starting with a small pilot program before a larger rollout. At NAIOP, 14 chapters (out of 51) are in the midst of running or planning the launch of their first mentoring program.
“We recommend a six to nine month program,” said Courtney. “Chapters determine the actual duration, but we stipulate it must have a defined beginning and end. We also recommend allowing the mentor to decide how many one-hour sessions they want to provide within that timeframe.”
NAIOP also suggests that participants plan out their one-hour discussion. Courtney said, “We give chapters a do’s and don’ts document: these are things you shouldn’t ask, these are things that aren’t appropriate, for example, don’t sell, don’t bring a resume.”
CHAPTER ROLL OUT
To minimize the chapter’s workload, they also provide resources, like survey templates for mentors and mentees that chapters can tweak with their own questions.
Although NAIOP provides guidance, the chapters take ownership and ultimate control over their mentoring program. For example, chapters can set parameters for program participants. “They might limit mentees to emerging leaders or to certain ages,” said Courtney. “They might specify that mentors have to be a member for a certain number of years, or be a certain member type, for example, principal versus affiliate.”
Chapters can decide on the type of matches, for example:
- Executives to emerging leaders
- Emerging leaders to college students
- Peers to peers
NAIOP hosted three webinars to introduce the program to chapter executives and volunteer leaders. Courtney gave presentations about the program at chapter board meetings. When a chapter decided to go ahead, membership staff did a training session with them to address specific needs and questions.
TIPS FROM NAIOP ON RUNNING A MENTORSHIP PROGRAM