Many of our nation’s most respected executives, in both the public and private sectors, cite the support, influence and encouragement of a mentor as a contributing reason for their success. As an organization dedicated to grooming Black administrators for the challenges of senior management positions in the public sector, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators is firmly committed to fostering mentoring relationships that will increase career opportunities for the “next generation of Black public managers.”
With this commitment in mind, in 1987 NFBPA launched the Mentor Program, a unique program designed to positively impact the professional development of emerging public administrators. The program is an intensive, eight-month initiative with a two-fold focus. First, emphasis is placed on skills building, with specialized workshops offered during two group meetings. The second, and equally important, focus is embodied in informal interaction between mentors and protégés throughout the program period.
Annually, a search is conducted to identify up to twenty aspiring public managers who show great promise of achieving executive positions in public service. NFBPA will match each of these professionals or “protégés” with a seasoned Black executive. NFBPA has identified a pool of highly successful Black public officials who are eager to share the insight and wisdom acquired from many years in the management ranks, with younger, career-minded professionals who aspire to achieve executive positions in public service. Following the identification of the protégés, mentors are selected from the pool and matched on a one-to-one basis with each protégé. Protégés selected to participate in the Mentor Program retain their jobs and professional responsibilities during the course of the program. Whenever possible, protégés are matched with mentors who live and work within a 50-mile radius, thus supporting frequent face-to-face interaction and telephone meetings.