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Adrienne McDade Discusses Mentoring and How to Find and Develop a Good Mentor-Mentee Relationship

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Adrienne McDade

From the AFP Expert Speaker Series, Amy Eisenstein interviews Adrienne McDade about mentoring and how to find and develop a good mentor-mentee relationship.


Video Transcript

Amy Eisenstein: Hi. I'm Amy Eisenstein, and today I'm here with Adrienne McDade, who's the Director of Annual Giving at the University of Cincinnati Foundation, and I'm so excited to have her here talking about mentoring. I'm so happy to have you here. You are presenting at the conference on mentoring: It Takes a Village. So, let's talk about mentoring. Why is mentoring important?

Adrienne McDade: Well I think mentoring is important because it's never too late to always invest in yourself. It's never too late to become a better you, and had it not been for my village of mentors, I wouldn't be in the field. I wouldn't have the network that I have, and it just inspires me to give back, and I want to encourage others to build their mentor network as well.

Amy Eisenstein: What are some of the hot topics around mentorship? What do you, what are your key takeaways for your session participants? What do you want people to know about mentoring?

Adrienne McDade: Finding a mentor doesn't have to be as difficult as it may appear, and some of these relationships develop organically. I would want them to know that you can have a mentor in every aspect of your life. It just doesn't have to be a professional mentor. You can have someone who's mentoring you that's the same age, to hold yourself accountable for some of the things that you want to achieve.

Adrienne McDade: You can have a social mentor which helps you network in your community, or even across the world. There's personal mentors because we all go through things with life and want to bounce off ideas. So, look at mentorship as a multidimensional part of your life, and develop a village instead of you just having that one core person—you can have as many as you want.

Amy Eisenstein: That's great. I hadn't thought about it that way before. If a mentor relationship doesn't happen organically, how can people who want a mentor go about finding one?

Adrienne McDade: Well, I do know at the AFP International level, they have a mentorship program. And I think that would be a great way to start. I know that based on what your interests are, and maybe what the mentors are looking to achieve with the mentee, they can pair you up. And therefore, you have a relationship that has been created for you. I do know that there are other chapters throughout the country, and maybe even throughout the world, that have their own local mentoring program.

Adrienne McDade: The AFP Cincinnati Chapter has a mentorship program, and we have them fill out an interest survey. And we have the mentors who sign up complete an interest survey as well, and we try to pair them based on what are they trying to achieve, what areas of philanthropy are they interested in? So, if you're not comfortable formally asking someone, or being in those network situations, where you're trying to build those relationships, rely on your AFP chapter and the association as a whole to help you do that.

Amy Eisenstein: Yeah, it's a good point. I know my home chapter in New Jersey has a mentoring program, and it's the same type of thing where you fill out a form and get paired with a senior level professional. Good. So, talk about what kind of qualities and characteristics you would like to have in a mentor, if you're looking for one.

Adrienne McDade: Absolutely, and I'll go from the mentors that I have in my village. I look for flexibility. I am very involved in my community. I like to volunteer a lot. So, I will need someone that has the opportunity to maybe meet for breakfast, and then the next time we might need to meet for dinner. Or I can't meet you face to face, but can you give me 30 minutes over the phone. Or at this point in time I just need to send you maybe 10 questions, and can you just type your responses in the email?

Amy Eisenstein: Yeah.

Adrienne McDade: So, having someone that has that flexibility would be perfect, and someone who's open and honest, and allows not only for me to push back on certain things, but challenges me to think in a different way.

Amy Eisenstein: Yeah, I think that's really important, and I like the idea that it doesn't have to be somebody local even. It can be somebody remote. I know I have mentors all over the country, and we just chat by phone, video chat, text, email.

Adrienne McDade: Yes.

Amy Eisenstein: So, all right, great. What else do you want to share about mentoring?

Adrienne McDade: There's almost a diversity component that we need to think about when we're developing our mentor village. I think that sometimes we tend to look for someone that looks exactly like you, and sometimes you might end up doing yourself a disservice in bettering yourself if you're…You need to look at what can this person help me with, and what can I also help them with. It needs to be reciprocal, and you may find that you have a man that ends up being your mentor.

Adrienne McDade: I have a mentor that's not the same ethnic background. I have a Canadian mentor, and I really enjoy the relationship that we have, but I also have a woman mentor that's also a woman of color. So, finding diversity within your village only can help you, versus constantly looking for that person that you tend to resonate with.

Amy Eisenstein: Yeah, I think that's a good point. So, going out of your comfort zone, maybe, to find a mentor that isn't exactly like you, and can offer you different perspectives and opportunities.

Adrienne McDade: Exactly, yes.

Amy Eisenstein: Yeah, good. Any final thoughts that you'd like to share on mentoring relationships? Or how it takes a village?

Adrienne McDade: I just want to reiterate that it's never too late, again, to be a better you. Your mentorship relationship doesn't have to be in the traditional sense that we always think with someone who's seasoned, and someone who is younger. There are a lot of studies out there that show that seasoned professionals are also looking to have mentors that are younger than them. And even in the corporate workforce, they're starting to keep millennials a little bit longer because they're developing those mentorship relationships. So, it really does take a village. It really can be a cool and innovative part of your life if you really just apply yourself to it.

Amy Eisenstein: Excellent. Thank you so much for being here.

Adrienne McDade: And thank you for having me, Amy.

Amy Eisenstein: Thanks so much for joining me. For even more videos, interviews, tools, and resources, I hope you'll visit my website,, and subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

For even more interviews, tools, and resources, I hope you’ll visit my website 

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