Mentoring: Ensuring a Stronger Organization
By Imperial Sir Gary Bergenske
Do you remember a special person who made a difference in your life? The person who took time to ask your name, introduce you around or show you the ropes? If we’re lucky, we have at least one person in our lives who truly took an interest and made a positive difference, personally or professionally.
That’s what mentoring is all about—taking the time to help someone learn, gain knowledge and offer an opportunity to succeed. Just as mentoring can build confidence and character in individuals, it can also impact organizations by preparing the next generation of leaders and ensuring the transfer of knowledge.
So how does this apply to Shriners International? Many organizations have mentoring programs, including Fortune 500 companies, the federal government and school systems, to name a few. They do this to ensure they build an organization of quality people who love what they do and do what they love. Some call it coaching or training, but mentoring of others goes back thousands of years. It builds and develops organizations’ most valuable asset—its people—in our case, our nobility.
Why is Shrine mentoring so important? Committed mentors can take Shriners International to the next level by educating, developing and exciting our members and by attracting and retaining our future leaders. Having a successful mentoring program is an important component to accomplishing membership development and retention goals.
I always like to think of having our members become “career Shriners,” where they enjoy their association with our organization and realize—personally and professionally—their full potential. If they are made to feel welcome and given the opportunity to get involved in our organization, they will be happy and we will have more members who never leave us. How do we guarantee this happens? Simple, we make a concerted effort to make sure every new member has a mentor for his first year to make sure he becomes involved and his expectations are met.
Through beashrinernow.com, we have created the foundation for a mentoring network. Here, virtual mentors work with interested candidates to learn more about Shriners International and Freemasonry. These mentors are active Shriners and Masons and they answer questions, provide guidance and introduce candidates and their families to local lodges or temples. We call them virtual mentors because they first meet online. If the candidate wishes, they can meet in person, chat by phone or continue communicating online.
We are looking for more dedicated Shriners to join our virtual mentors and their mission to help grow the fraternity and guide our future leaders. Go to www.shrinersvillage.com and sign up as a virtual mentor for your temple. We need your talents to assist us in communicating, motivating, counseling and exciting our new members to become “career Shriners.” If we can do that, they will become involved forever. Let’s do it! I believe we can.