SEED (Sun Engineering Enrichment & Development) is Sun Microsystems Engineering’s world-wide employee mentoring program, started in 2001. Speed mentoring is SEED’s newest offering: a series of short focused conversations about specific questions. This business method can serve as an introduction for mentees and mentors both to mentoring and to each other.
The first SEED Speed Mentoring session was held at Sun Microsystems during lunchtime on 9 December 2009 in Menlo Park, California. Thirteen mentors and twenty mentees signed up. 88% of the mentors and mentees reported being satisfied to very satisfied with their experience. No one reported being dissatisfied. Thanks to Helen Gracon, Rob Snevely, and Rick Aaron for supporting me in running this event!
Topics most discussed were:
- Career development (77%)
- Improving professional visibility (65%)
- Technical skills development (54%)
- Improving leadership or management skills (50%)
- Discussing best path to success (46%)
Some replies to the follow-up survey question “What would you say to someone who was interested in participating in a future SEED Speed Mentoring session?”:
- Excellent service from Sun. Anyone who is interested in career development, should avail this one.
- Go for it but don’t expect it to answer all your questions.
- Know what you want to get out of the sessions ahead of time. Try to conduct some research on who the mentors are ahead of time.
- Sure. Do it. It’s a few hours that has a decent chance of broadening your perspectives.
- Go in with a plan of what you want to discuss. Be aware of the limitations of such an exercise.
- I would highly recommend it. It doesn’t take much time at all but can quickly provide some feedback and give one’s thinking process a nudge.
- Please participate, since it inspires you to do routine things differently. It provides useful pointers to making career changes. It helps to make better choices Towards technical skills gained at work.
There are probably many successful ways to run a speed mentoring event. Here is SEED’s instruction document (approved for public distribution), complete with a flow chart:
How Speed Mentoring Works (4 pages, PDF format)
Pictures from the first SEED Speed Mentoring Session:
Images Copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
Edited and updated 15 May 2018