Arabian Gulf (NNS) -- Sailors are told to cut out their own path, but they are encouraged not to do it all alone either. Participating in the mentorship program as a mentor and protege encourages Sailors to help and learn from one another and to push each other to reach their full potential.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) allows Sailors the opportunity to choose who they want as a mentor in and out of their field and to receive mentorship for their career and their personal life.
"Everyone is responsible for their own career development and it is up to each individual to take initiative and seize opportunities," said Chief Phillip Ballard, command mentorship program coordinator.
Through experience, mentors offer knowledge, advice, information and key military points that junior Sailors may not have had access to or knowledge of beforehand.
"Everyone benefits from a strong mentorship program," Ballard said. "The protege will build confidence, become more involved both personally and professionally, and have a better understanding of what is needed to succeed and advance."
The mentors advise and help their proteges to figure out the answers for themselves and come to the conclusion that betters them while providing the opportunity for them to grow.
"I try to put myself in their shoes with where they're at in their careers and think about what their options really are and which options they may not be looking at," said Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Isotalo, who said being a mentor is not only a responsibility senior Sailors should accept, but it is also an honor.
Some mentors have not one mentee but several mentees that have chosen them because of attributes they believe they want to learn from or for options they believe their mentor can show them.
"Having several mentees is like a juggling act," Isotalo said. "You just make the time. Whether its five minutes here or 30 minutes there, you find some time to check in on them and see where they are at in reaching their goals and if they need your help."
Mentors help mentees plan out obstacles and goals they may come across and help them understand how to overcome difficulties and identify expectations their leadership may have for them.
"Having the right role model can help navigate the path in finding success and meeting realistic goals. Having mentors look out for junior Sailors helps keep them on track to better them and better the future of the Navy," said Ballard.
To become a mentor or have someone be your mentor there is a contract signed between the two Sailors that show in writing the Sailors goals they want to obtain or complete.
"Once this contract has been signed by both the mentor and protege, simply provide it to your divisional mentorship coordinator where it can be tracked and possibly inspected if your division is called for the Division in the Spotlight inspection, " Ballard said.
Mentoring Sailors helps widen the knowledge base not only for the mentor and protege, but for the command as a whole.
"Mentoring increases everyone's understanding and acceptance of common goals and overall mission objective," Ballard said.
Ike, the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 and the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
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