Hill Talk: Female Staffers Get Mentor Program

Posted May 14, 2010 at 3:53pm

Tucked away in a meeting room in the Capitol Visitor Center, the Women’s Congressional Staff Association last week successfully launched Capitol Hill’s first-ever women’s mentoring program.

Over wine and cheese, several dozen interns and staffers of various experience levels chatted about their jobs, how they got to be on the Hill and the various challenges that they faced along the way. The women represented a broad swath from both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle.

After an introductory presentation by WCSA officers, the actual mechanics of the event worked like a modified form of speed dating: To form mentor-protégé pairs, the women, with information cards in hand, moved among one another in five-minute shifts.

At the end of the night, pairs that connected entered into a mentoring relationship. For the next four months, mentors will provide advice on career advancement while protégés will benefit from access and encouragement.

The WCSA hopes the program will become ongoing and expects to enlist a new crop of mentors every several months. A loftier goal, however, lies with the mentoring program leading to long-standing relationships among women on Capitol Hill.

For the WCSA, the event marked just another steppingstone in its short history. The organization boasts more than 200 members and has had about 500 women attend prior events since its beginning in 2008.