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January 28, 2020

Andy Seeley

Krystal Warren

Carolayne Henry

Rebecca Gaona

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to our first CoSIDA Capital One continuing education webinar of the new academic and athletic year. Today's topic is components of a strong mentor and mentee relationship, and it fits perfectly into the month of January, as it is national mentoring month. National mentoring month, if you're not aware, is aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities.

Before we begin, just a few housekeeping items here. We would like to obviously like to say a quick thank-you to our two corporate partners, Capital One and ASAP Sports. Capital One is the presenting sponsor of our continuing education and professional development series, while ASAP Sports provides the official full transcript of each monthly webinar.

As a reminder, the webinar and the ASAP Sports transcript will be posted later today in CoSIDA Connect, which as you all know is our membership's online community.

We also will be providing a podcast version of this webinar, as well. Please look for the links in the Connect resource library off the main page.

For today's webinar, you can certainly ask your questions live to the presenters. Please use the chat box in the right-hand corner of your portal. If you have questions for our presenters, know that we will save time at the end of this webinar to address them, and then obviously please send them to us now if you have any, and we'll get to them later.

Quick rundown of our panel today. Key goals for listeners today: Try and take two to three things away from today's webinar. There will be a lot discussed. There will be a lot of good advice. Just try and find things that are applicable to you and maybe your mentor/mentee relationship and go from there.

For our panelists today, we have Rebecca Gaona from Old Dominion University; Carolayne Henry from the Mountain West Conference; Andy Seeley from Florida Atlantic University; and Krystal Warren from the University of Dayton. What we'll do is we'll cover a variety of topics related to our mentor and mentee relationships, and we'll try and prompt our presenters as they go through with some questions.

With that we'd like to start with Andy Seeley, considering he's probably the reason why we're all here. Andy, if you could just talk about why this platform, the mentor/mentee relationship committee and the program that started with CoSIDA, how it got to be about where it is now and what your goals were for you and where we are now with it.

ANDY SEELEY: First of all, I would say that me being the reason why we're here might be a bit of a stretch, but it was -- when I was fortunate enough to be in the officer rotation at CoSIDA, we had the opportunity to have a project that we'd like to build something within the framework of the organization, and I'm a firm believer that I wouldn't be in the profession, that I wouldn't have had the success I've had in the profession, et cetera, had it not been for some mentors that I had that were somewhat organic, but also there was a session at my first convention that was a veterans and rookies panel that I got taken under the wing of Greg Goings, if you guys know Greg, and he really walked me through and helped me get what I needed to get out of the convention and became a mentor to me, and it happened, like I said, somewhat organically.

But I felt strongly that within our organization, that with the opportunity for something that was a little bit more formal and could create some relationships and help some of our younger folks and some of our less experienced folks get better in their profession and feel like they had someone to turn to. That was really kind of the impetus behind it for me, and I couldn't be more proud, all kidding aside, where we're at with this program right now and the number of people we have involved, and greatly appreciate our panel today and also everyone that's taking part.

THE MODERATOR: Carolayne, can you add to what Andy talked about in relation to the importance of mentorship and relationships during careers, especially to you or the stories you've come across?

CAROLAYNE HENRY: Sure. First of all, mentorship is important to not just the mentee but also the mentor, and as it relates to the mentee, you have somebody to bounce something off of, especially in your same profession, and someone who has an understanding of what you're going through, and that continued dialogue will help that mentee grow ultimately into a mentor himself or herself.

As the mentor, it's an opportunity for leadership, and as you transition from being a mentee to a mentor, that's the leadership experience that you get during that transition and hopefully will last throughout your career.

THE MODERATOR: Krystal, what about your perspective on that question?

KRYSTAL WARREN: I'd go with what Andy said. I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without the people that were there to help me when I was new in my career. I definitely want to give a shout-out specifically to Mark Womack at Cedarville and Dave Parsons who used to be at Mount Vernon and then Larry Ulhern (ph) at the MSFA.

I was very raw when I first got into the business, knew nothing about it, and if it weren't for those guys taking my phone calls late at night, how do I import stats, how do I set up a radio feed, just in general how to be a great host, I wouldn't be where I am today.

And then building those different connections, and those were totally organic, I just reached out to those guys and they took me under their wing and were more than willing, and I think that's just in general how our business is. We are here to help each other out. We all want to lift each other up, and if you reach out to people, more than likely they're going to want to help you.

Like I said, I've been in the business for almost 20 years now, and I wouldn't be in the position I am now without those connections that I've had in the past. I got my position now at Dayton through connections I had made meeting local SIDs at different events when I was at Urbana University. We had the opportunity to play University of Dayton in several different events, and through those connections of meeting people at the events and leaning on them and having those connections gave me the opportunity to network and be where I am today at this place.

It's safe to say relationships have been a huge part of the career path that I've had.

THE MODERATOR: Krystal, just one follow-up question for you. You mentioned you talked with a lot of people, met a lot of people. Can you just talk about the importance of not maybe getting caught up on who does what, what their job is specifically but maybe just those relationships and how you can build those versus looking at a title and trying to go speak with someone just because they work at X school or have X title?

KRYSTAL WARREN: Absolutely. So this mentor program is definitely huge that CoSIDA has. But it wasn't something that I had when I was up and coming. I think you need to look at -- you don't have to have, oh, that's my mentor, that's my mentee, it's just about creating relationships, just creating connections and friendships, and through those friendships it doesn't have to be considered mentor/mentee, but ultimately that's what it becomes. You are creating those organic relationships.

So one of the things I wrote down as advice to a young professional is don't get hung up on those titles. The process is as simple as who can I learn from and who can I work with to build those meaningful relationships. Reach out and make those connections. Don't be afraid, get out of your comfort zone, and build those relationships.

ANDY SEELEY: I think part of the idea here is that we want people to get used to the idea of building these relationships through this formal structure but definitely going outside of that, as well, and developing those relationships, and even developing them outside of our field. I mean, we have a representative with Carolayne on here who's not in our field and has mentored many, many people, including myself, outside of this part of the field. So I think that's an important piece to remember, too, is that once you get comfortable in these relationships, go out and build them with others, as well, and build them across the spectrum of athletics and even outside of it from that standpoint, as well.

CAROLAYNE HENRY: I would piggy-back on what everyone is saying in terms of outside of the field. I was honored to be asked to be on this panel because my background is legal and governance and compliance, but I work with Theresa Kurtz here in our office, and to me it doesn't matter what area in the office she's in, I'm going to be here for her as a teammate, as a friend, and that's kind of how things should develop, I think.

And then you're in a different area, and I hear, oh, there's a job opening in such-and-such area, and I know Theresa or I know somebody in that area, just because I have a different background doesn't mean I can't recommend you.

THE MODERATOR: That segues perfectly into our next topic of discussion, best practices for a consistent mentor/mentee interaction and relationship. Obviously everyone who's spoken so far provided great answers, but Rebecca, I'd love to hear your input on that and then we'll cross-reference everyone else and hear what they have to say, as well.

REBECCA GAONA: Yeah, I think at least with Krystal and I, I think we find the best way to communicate is via phone call, and she usually initiates when we call, and I need to get better at trying to figure out a time when we can talk.

I think each person is different. Each mentor or mentee is different, whether it be FaceTime or you just email back and forth, but I think we've found that talking on the phone, whether it be on the way to work for both of us, it's a good 30 minutes to just talk about what's going on in our lives, whether it be personal or at work, and it's nice to see a female figure that's way ahead of me in this career. I like to hear her side of things.

I think that's one of the best practices for us, and I think it's working so far.

THE MODERATOR: Carolayne, how about yourself? What advice do you have?

CAROLAYNE HENRY: Obviously the biggest thing is communication and whatever way you're comfortable communicating. One of the things I like to do is find out who's going to a national meeting and line up a time when I can sit down and have lunch with somebody at that meeting, and that's in the in between times when I talk either via telephone, FaceTime or whatever we choose to do.

The main thing is to maintain some sort of consistent communication without it being so forced, and so it should be something that you're comfortable with. But try to get face to face whenever you can.

THE MODERATOR: Andy, just speaking on that topic, Krystal, I'd be curious how you chime in, too, but any best practices for approaching that first mentor, maybe you're nervous or don't know how to go about it via email, but Andy, maybe some advice about how some younger people in the profession can approach a mentor such as the people in this room?

ANDY SEELEY: To be honest, I think having the confidence to know that you're approaching someone that wants to interact with you, right. That would be the other big -- the big thing to me is have that confidence, realize that most of us in this profession want to help the others, and then I think I'd flip it around, as well, and when you get approached or when someone does come up to you, I feel like the person that's maybe in the mentor role needs to understand that that person might be nervous and have some patience and be willing to really try and develop that relationship themselves, as well.

I can understand, I may not be my personality for any of those folks that know me to feel like I would be nervous, but I was as nervous as could be walking into my first convention, and I walked out thinking, man, I don't know half of what I need to know about this business, but I'm going to learn it thanks to these people.

I think it's an understanding piece that it can be uncomfortable for you, but I would turn it back around and put it back on the mentor to be more responsible for that relationship and try to make the other person feel comfortable.

THE MODERATOR: Krystal, love to hear your input on that question and just best practices in general.

KRYSTAL WARREN: Sure, I think it doesn't have to be perfect. I think there are going to be times where you can't always meet up. There's been a time where Rebecca and I had a phone call and we had to reschedule it because of a family obligation I had.

It's not the end of the world. You've just got to keep trucking on and keep going. But I think some of the best things are to have regular check-ins, which we try to do, put it on our calendar to make sure that it's blocked off because our schedules are pretty hectic, so just making sure that we schedule that allotted time for this important time for us to talk, because otherwise it's going to be really difficult not to make that happen.

But on the other side of things, I do also like to do some impromptu texting every once in a while, just texting how you doing or happy birthday, things like that. I think for everybody, too, you have to be respectful of each other's time and be present in those conversations, and I've really appreciated that the conversations I've had with Rebecca we've been very locked in to each other and had really great conversations because we did set that time aside where we could spend quality time together and not be rushing around to the next thing, from one thing to the other. I think definitely scheduling that time is important but also adding that little impromptu text here and there, too, so it doesn't feel so structured and tight. But I definitely am so thankful for the opportunity to have this CoSIDA mentorship, mentee opportunity, and thanks to Andy for putting this group together.

THE MODERATOR: Just jump to a next question, what should the expectations be like for a mentee of their mentor? What do you think that should be like? We'll start with Rebecca and go to Carolayne.

REBECCA GAONA: I think Krystal is everything I really would need in a mentor. She's great. I think what to expect is someone to guide you. I've only been an SID for three years, and so sometimes I have questions or I like to -- she has ideas that I kind of want to piggy-back off of, and so I think it's someone to just kind of help you guide yourself in your job and your career and your path. Just someone positive, like this morning, I don't want to embarrass you, but Krystal texted me and said, "good luck," and it was just a nice pop-in text just to remind me and make me feel better about this call that I was a little nervous on.

It's just little things like that that even she was talking about in the question before. And it doesn't feel forced at all. It's more organic to me.

THE MODERATOR: Carolayne, how about yourself? What should the expectations for men tees be of their mentors?

CAROLAYNE HENRY: I think the two need to set the expectations because it might vary depending upon who the individual is, whether or not we're in the same field. So I think a good conversation to start out and then sometimes the expectations are set organically. Other times I might get a question from a mentee, hey, can I pick your brain periodically on blank, and I just want to make sure I'm there to help them whenever they should need it, but I think the two individuals should set the expectations.

THE MODERATOR: So on the flipside, Krystal and Andy, we'll talk about expectations mentors should have of a mentee. Krystal, if you want to start and Andy, we'll get your thoughts on that topic.

KRYSTAL WARREN: Sure, and I want to throw back to the last questions. It would also be really good to follow each other on your social media platforms. I think that gives you an insight to their personal side that you wouldn't otherwise get, so just Rebecca with her dog or her boyfriend, I get to see a different side of her that I don't normally get when we're just having our phone conversations, so I think adding social media contacts is a good way to interact, as well.

But some of the things I would say is just be open to the opportunity. It is scary, like Andy said at the beginning, sometimes to go into a room and talk to someone or just even on the phone with someone who might be in a higher position than you. You might be a little intimidated by them. But be open. I think most people in our profession want to help each other out. And across all professions you want to help each other out. So be open to the opportunity.

And I think to understand that mentorship not only is about creating professional development but it's also about your personal growth, and it's helping us grow holistically not just in our work. Obviously that's the main focus, but the holistic approach to life is a part of that mentorship connection, as well.

And then finally just communicating openly and honestly, echoing what Carolayne said, is really key, and that's part of our profession, so that shouldn't be hard for us, but definitely communicating and being honest and authentic in those conversations.

THE MODERATOR: Andy, how about yourself on that topic?

ANDY SEELEY: Yeah, I think for me personally, my new role that I'm in, I quite honestly, this is the fourth of six meetings, if you want to call this a meeting, that I'm in today. I always tell my mentes that I'm going to rely on them to take some of the responsibility of reaching out and making contact. I think that that's a key point, that they shouldn't feel like just because they're the mentee that they need to wait for their, quote-unquote, mentor to initiate any conversation.

I feel like I want to know if my mentee, if you need me, but if you need to ask a question and we have a call scheduled for later in the week, I want them to understand that it's fine to reach out at that very moment, shoot me a text, give me a call, we can talk for an hour after work or whatever that case may be.

It's admittedly a little bit selfish on my part because I know how busy I am and I can tend to neglect a relationship on occasion and I don't like to do that, so I like to be up front and say, hey, don't hesitate to reach out to me, as well, but I do think that's a lesson that is important, whether it's -- no matter what place it's coming from, that they need to understand that they should feel comfortable to reach out and get advice when they need it.

THE MODERATOR: Speaking of questions, if anyone attending to listening to the webinar right now has questions, feel free to submit those. We'll have time at the end, so just a reminder on that. Obviously we're fortunate to have Rebecca and Krystal on the call, a relationship that they've developed as they've talked, but we'd like to get a little bit more in depth on that if we could. Rebecca, starting with you, talk a little bit more in depth about your experience, how it's worked out for you and how maybe it's helped you grow so far since you've been able to be matched up with Krystal?

REBECCA GAONA: Yeah, like I said earlier in the call, it's nice to look up to a female figure that's in a higher position than me and that I want to be at eventually. It's really great to kind of pick her brain and have that connection that doesn't feel forced. It's kind of just, hey, we're calling on the phone, and sometimes we don't talk about work, we talk about vacations. So it's nice to look up to someone like that.

I think one other thing that's worked for us is there's one thing I need to work on is reaching out to her first. Krystal always kind of sets up these -- our calls, and I think that's one thing I need to work on is reaching out first, like Andy said. I should feel free -- I'm not really afraid, it's just we're all busy SIDs. It's more of a timing thing for me, and I think I need to make the time to reach out to Krystal, because she deserves that, also, whatever she gives to me I should give back type thing.

And that's about it right now.

THE MODERATOR: Krystal, what about on your end?

KRYSTAL WARREN: So this is my second time around in the mentor/mentee program, and I would say that last year was a learning stepping-stone for me, and this time around I've taken what I've learned from that first year and really tried to develop this relationship better, and I think having the opportunity to talk with Rebecca has been a symbiotic relationship. I've learned as much from her, I think, as she has learned from me. We have really good, fruitful discussions, and I love learning her perspective from someone who's an up-and-coming employee in her field and already killing it and a rock star in everything that she's doing over there. So I love hearing her perspective.

And then also giving her advice in the ways that she's doing things, and I try to encourage and try to give inspiration where possible. At Dayton we do have a group called Dayton Athletics Women Leaders, and we have a book club as a part of that, and the last book we read, I loved it so much, it was a book by Abby Wambach, so I sent it over to Rebecca, because I was like, man, she needs to hear these words, too, because they're so powerful. So just to try and give inspiration where needed.

I will say we had a missed opportunity, a miscommunication. She was in Indianapolis, which is about two hours from where I live, so I could have drove over and saw her, so just maybe communicating a little bit more and knowing that there are opportunities where we might be able to get to meet each other.

I do have this kind of a beef, but I do want to point out that when we did have the mass shootings at Dayton, Rebecca did reach out to me personally and wanted to make sure that I was okay and then also to let me know that she was thinking about our community and me.

I can't tell you how much that meant to me to have someone on the outside thinking of us during that very tough time. So I appreciate that.

THE MODERATOR: It obviously seems like Rebecca and Krystal have started off really well in their mentor/mentee pairing, but I think one thing we maybe need to consider is what happens if a pairing doesn't start off so well or it's really having a tough time getting going. Be curious to hear from the four panelists what they think.

CAROLAYNE HENRY: I guess if something doesn't start out as well as you'd like it to, maybe take a couple steps back and talk about what the importance is of the mentorship and what you actually want to get from it. I am more comfortable or prefer an organic relationship more than a structured relationship just because I think folks will naturally -- they're naturally attracted to people who do the same things or have similar likes and dislikes as they do. But I think it could be salvaged just with communication.

The organic portion of it to me is you don't have to be a mentee to -- you don't have to reach out to the mentor in that type of relationship. I think as mentors the onus also should be on us, and just kind of guide that mentee through whatever those issues are. I think anything that we start is worth finishing.

THE MODERATOR: Andy, what about your thoughts on a relationship that doesn't get off going relatively quickly?

ANDY SEELEY: Yeah, I would piggy-back a little bit off what Carolayne said. I think a great ice breaker, for lack of a better term, can be like talking about career goals and talking about goals for what they wanted to get out of the mentorship program to begin with, like why are you here, those sorts of things that could potentially spark some conversation.

And then I would go back to I think it was Krystal mentioned before that follow each other on social media. If it seems to be struggling, perhaps maybe go back and scroll their feed and see, hey, do they have a dog, what is it that seems to interest them. Like if you scroll through my social media feed, all you have to do is ask me my opinions on professional wrestling and I will share them with you and that will spark a conversation. So there's ways to do that, get a little bit creative. Maybe you know somebody who knows that person, reach out to them and say, hey, what makes this person tick. There are ways to do that. And I will say it's kind of a last resort, but we do have a mechanism where if something just isn't working or somebody ghosts, we do have some mechanisms within the program to find someone else another mentor or to try a different pairing. But to Carolayne's point, I think that should be a last resort.

THE MODERATOR: Rebecca, what about your thoughts?

REBECCA GAONA: I think it's really important just to keep an open mind. To be honest, before I even talked to Krystal, I was having second thoughts about this mentor/mentee and is it worth it, and you just have to keep an open mind. Like Andy and Krystal said, you might find out something you don't end up knowing about them, and you'll have something to talk about.

I just think keeping an open mind, odds are they're going through the same type of thing as you are, busy schedules, coaches, this and that. You're going to end up finding something to talk about at the end of the day I feel like.

THE MODERATOR: Krystal, what about yourself and maybe some experiences you've had at Dayton with student workers and things like that, too?

KRYSTAL WARREN: Sure, so I would think you definitely want to talk about the career side of things, but I think you can get to know a person when you talk about the personal things first. So if you get to know a person and you really get in their head, that's when you're going to really make that connection, and then you can take the next step towards the career aspect side of things.

But as far as like our student workers, we're lucky enough at University of Dayton, we have a very robust student worker program. We have anywhere between 15 to 16 student workers, and we take it very seriously at the University of Dayton. It's a mentor-type relationship that we have with them. And in fact, if they do a lot of work for us but we helped them in their educational experience and help them get to the next level. If you'll bear with me I have a list of a couple people that we've actually had move on to the next level and we're super proud of here at Dayton, so I just want to give shout-outs to some of them that have been student workers and are now in the professional field.

We have Brendan Bergen at Xavier, Claire Fischer at North Carolina State, Joey Gardner at Creighton, Matt Grilli with the Atlanta Braves, Jay Kafer at Wake Forest, Molly Metress at George Mason, Dan Whittaker at Air Force, and then we had an intern, Kyler Lobo, who's now at Michigan. We're really proud of that, and we do take that role seriously as being mentors to those up-and-coming student workers who are going to be the next generation of our field. We're very proud of that.

I would say personally, I sometimes get into this imposter syndrome where I think maybe I don't have the experience or I don't have the knowledge to give a mentee, and I doubt myself, and I think that might be a common thing that a lot of people go through, mentee or mentor, and I think that we have to push those thoughts out of our head. We have to know that we all just bring a different perspective, we all have a different walk of life, and we can all learn from one another, so we do have to be open to that experience to learn from one another.

THE MODERATOR: Curious, question for the group and then I'll kind of pick someone to start, but obviously there's many benefits to being in the CoSIDA mentor program, but specifically for in group, is there anything that you've noticed maybe that it's helped you develop more into a leader within your own departments after coming away from mentor/mentee relationships? Maybe you see you're doing something differently in meetings, how you're talking with people, how you're communicating? Has anyone seen any differences in that after maybe you go through a good or a bad mentor relationship? Andy, we'll start with you, see if you have any thoughts on that.

ANDY SEELEY: I think for someone like me that's kind of that -- a little bit of an extroverted introvert type of thing, it's only just with confidence and talking to people. I know that there are people that know me that probably don't feel like that's a thing for me, but I've mentored a number of people now in this program, and some just organically, and when you first meet somebody that maybe you haven't -- that you don't know, that you haven't met before, even if you're on this side of the fence on it, it can be somewhat -- it can be a little nerve-racking. So I would say it's certainly helped me with my confidence in just being able to be open to new relationships and new people and feel more comfortable in creating and maintaining those relationships.

THE MODERATOR: Rebecca, how about yourself?

REBECCA GAONA: Yeah, I think I feel more confident where I'm at right now, like Krystal was saying. She has a female -- what is the name, Krystal?

KRYSTAL WARREN: Imposter syndrome.

REBECCA GAONA: No, I'm talking about the female group --

KRYSTAL WARREN: Oh, Dayton Athletics Women Leaders.

REBECCA GAONA: Yes. I think that's a great idea, and I'm definitely not there yet, but I feel more comfortable in myself as a female SID especially working with three other guys in my department. I feel more comfortable and not out of place.

THE MODERATOR: Carolayne, how about yourself?

CAROLAYNE HENRY: I am not in the CoSIDA mentor/mentee program. I'm in a different area. But one of the things that we do here is to mentor our up-and-coming student-athletes, especially if they want to get into the athletics field, and so when we bring them into the office, we introduce them to the various different areas so that they can have at least access to those areas initially. So having -- before Andy was in our office, having Theresa in our office, especially with our strategic communications staff, a lot of our student-athletes are interested in that area. The fact that you have this mentor program is something that I can communicate to our student-athletes so that they're aware of it. The existence of the mentor/mentee program to me is most valuable so that I can pass that message along.

ANDY SEELEY: I want to go back, too. I feel like her mentioning being the lone female in her office, I do feel like this is an area where we can also help with the new diversity and inclusion committee that we have and those sorts of things. I think anybody in this program ought to be looking for those opportunities to help those groups that maybe are underrepresented within our profession especially, and I'm certainly proud of the number of young women that I have mentored and worked with from student workers all the way back who are now in the profession, that sort of thing. But I do feel like that's an important component and a piece that maybe isn't a direction I thought we were going to go on this webinar, but Rebecca brings up a really good point. I think for the males in this profession and for some of the less diverse folks in this profession, we want to maybe keep in mind that there are groups that are underrepresented in our profession. We want to make sure that we build them up, as well, and this program is an opportunity to do that.

THE MODERATOR: Krystal, I was curious about the question I asked and then if you had any additional comments to what Andy just mentioned, as well.

KRYSTAL WARREN: So my very first convention I feel like I was maybe one of only about 10 females there, and that has grown exponentially, so I think that is due in part to people like Andy who have helped to mentor females in this position. When I was up and coming, it was all males who were my mentors and who helped me, also. I definitely have seen a shift in that, so I'm glad that you brought that point up.

As far as creating more leadership from a mentor/mentee relationship, I would say just getting to understand that someone else is going through the same thing you are and being able to bounce those ideas off of them helps you be more confident when you're going into a conversation where, you know, okay, this is not just me, other people are also going through this same thing, and that gives you strength in numbers because you can actually bring that to the table, that other people are dealing with the same kind of issues at their schools, no matter what size the school is.

THE MODERATOR: One last prompt, if anyone listening has any questions, please feel free to get them in now as we kind of wind down on the webinar, and if we get them in while our panelists have some final thoughts, we'll certainly get to those questions, but we'll just kind of go in a row here. Just final thoughts, maybe anything we missed or didn't talk about or you feel passionate about. Andy, we'll start with you and kind of make our way down as we wrap up this webinar.

ANDY SEELEY: I mean, I'm just extremely passionate about this program, as you can guess. I'm sure that most of the folks that are actually attending today and that are going to watch potentially are involved in the mentorship program, but if they're not, in you're not involved and you haven't been, please, please consider being involved in it and please also seek out those opportunities to do it in an informal, organic way, as well. It's vitally important, I think, in this day and age.

I see SIDs all the time online and on social media complaining about burnout and work-life balance and those sorts of things, and I feel like this is an opportunity for us to help somebody along that may be struggling. I would just really want to encourage people to somehow be involved and help people. That's the whole reason why I wanted to start this program in the first place.

THE MODERATOR: Rebecca, how about you; any final thoughts for the mentees out there?

REBECCA GAONA: Yeah, I just want to say, like I said before, at first I was skeptical doing the mentor/mentee, but it's really been great, and I really highly suggest it to anyone. At CoSIDA, I've only been to two CoSIDAs, but they've both been great experiences, and just have an open mind towards it because you can meet someone really great, and you don't know where they'll help you get and what type of advice they'll give you. It will be great.

THE MODERATOR: Carolayne, how about yourself, any final thoughts?

CAROLAYNE HENRY: Sure. I would encourage the mentes to get involved with this program. It seems like it's working really well, and I'd like to see it continue. If that's not something that you're comfortable with, I would encourage you to reach out to someone you maybe think could be your mentor at least to pick their brain, and always for the mentors and the mentes, it's a two-way street. Both parties can benefit from this and continue to grow together.

THE MODERATOR: Krystal, how about yourself? And thank you, Carolayne.

KRYSTAL WARREN: I would just say when you do go to convention, try to make connections there. I've been very fortunate when I've gone to CoSIDA conventions I've made connections, and some of them have been lifelong connections now. For instance, I met Gavin Neville at one of the conventions, he was formerly at Tennessee State, and we still to this day have conversations about how we can better ourselves professionally. We talk about career opportunities and just personal things and how we can make ourselves better in this profession.

I would just say that this business, like most others, is all about relationships. Mentorships can build your network, which can help you in your next big job. But if you're happy where you are, mentoring is also about creating lifelong learning and creating meaningful connections with another person. I do want to point out that our mental health and personal well-being are tied to the quality of our relationships, and this opportunity to build these kind of relationships is so important to that well-being. So I would just say take the time to reflect on our athletics communications community, think about how we can get involved, become more engaged, take on leadership roles. This is a community that can lift us up and has the capacity to deal with the challenges that come our way.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone, for the great insight on the mentor program and the relationship between mentors and mentes. Really do appreciate it. Looks like we're going to close out today's webinar, so we'd also like to thank everyone for joining. Obviously if maybe you feel more comfortable submitting a question via email, certainly would be great to see you all do that. Obviously based on the answers you've heard today, I would guarantee that Krystal, Carolayne, Rebecca and Andy would certainly talk with you if you feel a little bit more comfortable going that route. We'd like to thank everyone for joining today's informative session. We also want to extend our thanks to our corporate partners Capital One and ASAP Sports for their continued support of our professional development series.

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