There’s nothing more rewarding than lifting others through a kind word, some helpful advice, or just by offering an open and willing ear. And oftentimes, just a bit of encouragement and support can go a long way. By becoming a mentor, you can change lives by giving those who are walking a similar path a push in the right direction, helping them reach their full potential.
That’s the goal of one of Business & Arts NL’s newest programs, “Grow to Lead,” which will connect leaders in both the arts and business communities to help strengthen the arts sector. Through this program, five mentors and five mentees (matched according to skills, needs, experience and interest) will be selected to work together in pairs, focusing on a range of areas including strategic planning, communications, fundraising, leadership, media skills and more. (The deadline to apply is September 1.)
Amy Henderson, Executive Director of Business & Arts NL, says the aim is to drive meaningful connections between the two communities.
“One of the ways that we do this is through helping artists build their businesses by connecting them to information, skills and support from the business community. Our Business Workshops for Artists program does this in one-hour increments, and ArtSupport NL has connected arts organizations to over 1,000 hours of focused fundraising mentorship since its launch. We wanted to design a program that found a balance between these two models,” she says.
Rather than a top-down “expert to student” model, Henderson adds, the program aims to create space for safe, meaningful relationships between community members who are interested in getting to know one another, and the landscape, and working together to address problems or help build up a particular area of practice. And while mentorship pairs will work together for a minimum of three hours a month for 10 months, she says, “we really hope that this program will encourage long-term relationships to flourish, and drive a deeper understanding of how the arts function as part of the ecosystem in our province.”
“Down the road we would love to flip this model on its head and see the artists being invited in to provide mentorship in creativity, idea generation, empathy, problem solving and more.”
The program will give mentors the opportunity to use their skills and experience to make a positive impact on mentees, helping them and their organizations to navigate challenges and connect to new ideas, people and resources. In addition to having access to some discretionary funds (to consult with an expert in another field, help pay for an extra seminar, or other professional supports to help them achieve their goals), each mentor and mentee will receive a $1,500 honorarium out of respect for the valuable time given to this work.
Leaders in the arts are often tasked with responsibilities that they don’t feel qualified for, including, but not limited to, developing communications plans, writing contracts, balancing the books and drafting budgets, designing strategic plans and HR management. This program aims to empower them with the skills they need so that they, and their organizations, can grow and thrive.
Henderson says “We want to give these leaders a chance to say ‘There’s this one part of my job that I’ve always felt like I would love to improve,’ or ‘No one on my board seems to have the skills to give me guidance on this one thing’ and to take some time to get to know a mentor who is interested in helping, curious to learn more about their particular situation, arts practice, and/or organization, and has the skills and contacts to help support the arts leader through this growth.”
Want to learn more about the Grow to Lead Mentorship Program, or interested in applying to be a mentor or mentee? Click here. (Application deadline is September 1.)