Introducing Reverse Mentors

Next week when our network converges on Las Vegas WBENC will be hosting its inaugural NextGen Meeting. NextGen is about building a community of WBEs and Supplier Diversity Professionals. As part of the meeting we are introducing our first Reverse Mentor program, giving what we like to call “ThisGen” the opportunity to be mentored by a WBE or Supplier Diversity Professional under the age of 40. To learn more about what reverse mentors are and how they work we connected with Barbara Kubicki-Hicks, Senior Vice President, Procurement Services Executive at Bank of America and the First Vice Chair of the WBENC Board of Directors and Chair of WBENC's Membership and Revenue Generation Board Committee. Kubicki-Hicks shared with us her personal experience with a Reverse Mentor.

Q: How and when did you find your reverse mentor?

A: About two years ago, I asked a colleague of mine if he wouldn’t mind mentoring me on the value of social media. Quite frankly, I didn’t see the value in it but it is clearly here to stay. I wanted to learn more about it from an active user in a safe environment.

Q: What is a reverse mentor?

A: For me, a reverse mentor is an experienced and trusted millennial advisor who educates and guides on the value and appropriate uses for different types of social media. 

Q: What kind of insights does your reverse mentor share with you?

A: Since my desire is to learn more about social media, my reverse mentor is teaching me the difference between Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, etc. While I know a little about each channel, I find it very confusing to determine when to use each one as well as when to use a picture or words or both.  It all seems foreign to me!

Q: What are the greatest benefits of having a reverse mentor?

A: While I’m still not an active user of social media, I have learned that less is more when it comes to communicating in today’s world. Keep it short, to the point and drive the message home with pictures! Thanks to my reverse mentor, I’m also able to have an intelligent conversation with my 13-year-old son now that I’m more versed on the topic.

Q: What advice do you have for someone seeking a reverse mentor?

A: It’s just like any other mentor/mentee situation. You get out of it what you put into it. 

Q: As a mentee, how do you (or do you?) approach a reverse mentor differently than a traditional mentor? 

A: I don’t approach it differently. You have to find someone knowledgeable in the topics or competencies you wish to learn more about. Additionally, it has to be someone whom you trust and are comfortable speaking with to achieve the desired result. 

Q: Can you share a funny story about something your reverse mentor taught you?  (For example, one of our millennials shared that her reverse mentor asked her what AirBNB is and said she knew she could ask her reverse mentor without her laughing at her.)

A: The funniest thing I’ve learned is that Facebook is for “grandparents.” I never would have guessed that one!

Interested in participating in the Reverse Mentor program? If you’re part of the NextGen sign up to attend the in-person meeting at Conference, and if you’re part of ThisGen sign up here to attend the Reverse Mentor Meet & Greet (spaces are limited).

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Posted on June 14, 2017 .