The FLEX Alumni Russia Mentoring program launched the second round of a six-month-long mentoring program aimed to connecting senior and junior FLEX alumni in Russia for career consultations and exploration on October 21-22 in St. Petersburg. The program aims to offer professional development opportunities for junior FLEX alumni as a support in entering the workforce and to help alumni develop professional contacts and networks, and to explore the vibrant Russian FLEX alumni community.
The 28 mentor/metee pairs range from 20 years of FLEX programming – 1995-2015 and come from as far east as Vladivostok, as far south as Voronezh and Balakovo, with the majority of alumni living in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia. The program participants’ professional fields are as varied as their locations with alumni working in business, education, HR, Start-up incubators, and web-design studios, to name a few! On the first day of the event, the 28 mentees took part in seminar where they took part in sessions on career planning, goal setting, and menteeship in the age of global innovation led by Dr. Paul Harper from the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Management. Mentees also took part in sessions to review the goals of the program and their responsibilities, including participation and completion of the Pearson Educational online platform courses that they are required to complete on time management, personal branding, and innovation in the workplace.
The official opening of the Program and first meeting of the program pairs took place on the evening of October 21 at the residence of U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg Public Affairs Officer Suzanne Bodoin. Michael Byrnes, U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg Public Affairs Associate, spoke at the opening and congratulated the pairs on their participation in the program and encouraged them to take part in activities organized by the U.S. Consulate. In addition, two second-time mentors, Denise Pimenov ’00 (Voronezh) and Yevgeniya Yermolayeva ’05 (Magadan) and current mentee of the program and former Alumni Coordinator for Moscow and Central Russia Iya Tikhomirova ’11 (Moscow) spoke at the event, where they shared their personal goals for the program and thanked the U.S. Consulate for hosting the event and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for funding the FLEX Alumni Russia Mentoring program.
The second day of the launch continued with a joint session for the mentors and mentees where they discussed their expectations and set their goals for the next six months of their cooperation. Dr. Paul Harper led an additional session, where he highlighted the need for mentees to be proactive in the mentoring relationships and how to successfully navigate a mentor/mentee relationships when in-person meetings are not possible. Follow two additional mentor-focused sessions, led by Paul Harper and a panel of the five returning mentees from the first program cycle, the event came to a close with a senior alumni networking event. Approximately 40 FLEX, UGRAD, and Fulbright alumni living in St. Petersburg attended the gathering, where they met their fellow alumni by taking part in ice breakers and through informal conversation. Lev Shishov ’03 (St. Petersburg), professional break dancer, performed for alumni at the event too.
During the next six months, the mentor pairs will meet in person or virtually on a monthly basis and will have the opportunity to take part in online and in-person professional development courses.