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Lancaster center offers mentoring program for women

Janet Treer, left, and Kathleen King are program developers and presenters for the KEY to Your Future Women's Mentoring Program, managed by the Samaritan Business Consulting's Center for Women in Leadership. - (Photo / Submitted)

A woman might be running for president in 2016, but the glass ceiling women often face in their professions is still intact.

“There are still many, many places where women are challenged to prove themselves, and sometimes, unfortunately, women have a reputation of not being supportive of each other,” King said. “I think sometimes it’s true and sometimes it’s not.”

It’s crucial for women in leadership, or on the path to leadership, to have an outside source of support, according to King. Someone who can pinpoint the challenges they’re facing that they might not be able to see for themselves, a listening ear.

The KEY to Your Future Women’s Mentoring Program seeks to provide just that.

Mentoring program launch

Samaritan Business Consulting’s Center for Women in Leadership in Lancaster is accepting applications now for its first installment of the mentoring program, which runs September through April. It will focus on training mentors and helping mentees boost their confidence, make connections and develop a personal vision.

“With someone else listening, it’s amazing how you can get answers to problems or insights to issues that you hadn’t even realized existed,” King said.

King, president of The Power of Possibilities, LLC, is one of three women in the consulting industry in the Lancaster area who initially developed the program about four years ago. It originated with Marilyn Walker, King said, and Janet Treer also joined the team to create the supportive program.  

“We wanted to demonstrate that even though we are competitors we can collaborate to benefit women,” King said.

Walker has since moved onto other projects, and King and Treer have decided to work with Samaritan Business Consulting to continue the program.

Karen Sheehe, career consultant at Samaritan Business Consulting, participated in the program as a mentor in the past.

“It was a very good experience for me, and it just sort of made sense for us to manage and support this program,” she said.

Both King and Sheehe said the partnership is a perfect fit.

“The Center for Women in Leadership is a connecting place for women to network and gain some additional professional development skills,” Sheehe said. “”We really look to provide opportunities for women to get together and learn from each other.”

The program will include a kick-off luncheon; four 90-minute workshops on the DiSC Behavior Profile, networking, goal setting and presentations; monthly mentor/mentee meetings; social events and a graduation program.

A mentee may be re-entering the workforce, looking to make a change in her career or seeking greater responsibilities in her career. A mentor should be an experienced professional who wants to help women succeed. Prior mentoring experience is not required.

Mentors and mentees will be paired by what the mentee is looking for and what the mentor can bring to the table to help them find success. The program benefits both parties, King explained. Mentees learn from an objective source of advice, someone who works outside of their company or field that brings a different perspective. Mentors are trained to develop formal mentoring skills that they can continue to use in their career.

“It’s for women by women,” said Amy Winslow-Weiss, program administrator at the center. “It really allows for their unique perspective. I love the idea that both the mentee and mentor in this program can then take all of the skills they learn and develop and apply them to their current positions and in the workplace.”

Cost to participate is $325. Business discounts are available. For more information, call Amy Winslow-Weiss at 717-560-2805 extension 101 or email her at awinslowweiss@scclanc.org.

If you are unable participate in the Lancaster program, there are several similar programs in the area:

  • Susquehanna SCORE – The nonprofit offers mentoring for business professionals and entrepreneurs. Visit their website to request a meeting or browse mentor profiles.
  • Chamber Business Women – The organization’s mentorship program seeks to connect experienced business professionals with aspiring future leaders to promote personal and professional development. The program supports the mission of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC and the Chamber Business Women. For more details, click here.

Nicole Chynoweth
Nicole Chynoweth is the web editor for Central Penn Business Journal. Email her at nchynoweth@cpbj.com.

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