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on a positive impact

Metrics and Mentoring: A Powerful Combination

ByMichael Bzdak, Global Director, Employee Engagement, Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson

Those who know me well understand my commitment to both mentoring and to measurement. Statistics show that students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52 percent less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37 percent less likely to skip a class. In addition to better school attendance and a better chance of going on to higher education, mentored youth have also been shown to maintain better attitudes toward school. Victor, one of my mentees through Bridge to Employment, a Johnson & Johnson worldwide high school mentoring program, struggled academically when he entered college. Inspired by an upperclassman who helped him turn his grades around, Victor then created his own mentoring program to help freshmen who also struggled to adjust to college life. In essence, Victor created a cycle of generosity and virtue.

The value of mentorship on the mentee has been documented by study after study and story after story. What we know less about, and need to hear more of, is the impact of mentorship on the mentor.

Through Bridge to Employment, I have worked with hundreds of high school students like Victor who come from diverse backgrounds. They have opened up my perspectives and taught me new lessons about educating and fostering learning through empathy and understanding. My work with high school student has served me well as a part-time university professor, where I have been able to apply valuable insights into the realities facing young people as they enter graduate school and professional careers. Therefore, I am better able to provide advice and support.

It is my privilege to help instill confidence in and guide the emerging young leaders I mentor, but it would be a mistake to think that’s the full picture. In fact, I have gained far more from mentoring than I have given. My own mentees have helped to bolster my own confidence, sharpened my leadership skills, expanded my ability to communicate, and compelled me to be a better listener.

As an Executive Coach to 2018 Johnson & Johnson One Young World Scholar Alexandra Reeves, for the 2018 Johnson & Johnson One Young World Change Maker Program, I know I’m going to learn from Alexandra just as much as I teach her. Alexandra is a dynamic young woman who is helping tens of thousands of teens access important health and wellness resources through the power of conversation, human-assisted artificial intelligence, and messenger apps. While I think she will benefit from my own experiences over the years, I know she’s going to show me new things about the power of social media conversations and social entrepreneurship, and social media dialogue. Aside from my executive coaching, Alexandra will also benefit from attending the upcoming One Young World Summit where she’ll gain exposure to other potential mentors in global leaders and advocates and share her story as inspiration to her peers. The One Young World leaders offer us hope as they create their own circles of generosity and virtue.

Metrics have not driven me to mentor, but they certainly validate my decision. Our future depends on preparing the next generation of leaders to take on global challenges. The Sustainable Development Goals have provided the perfect platform for all of us to engage in global problem-solving. The time horizons are long and the future belongs to our next ge­­neration leaders. Through programs like One Young World, we can not only provide young leaders like Alexandra with a mentorship opportunity that expands the work they are currently doing, but in fact, equip them with the tools they can use to plant the seed of mentorship for the mentees they already have, or will have, one day.

About the Johnson & Johnson One Young World Change Maker Program: Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is committed to empowering young health leaders within our Company and beyond to change the trajectory of health for humanity. Since 2013, J&J has partnered with One Young World (OYW) to provide young leaders with unique opportunities to learn from inspirational world leaders and to debate, formulate and share innovative solutions for some of the world’s most pressing health issues. The partnership is managed by J&J Global Community Impact which supports and champions people on the front lines who are at the heart of delivering care. To date, 90 J&J OYW leaders from across the globe have participated in the J&J OYW program. In 2018, 78 J&J OYW delegates will participate in the six months program and attend the OYW Summit in The Hague, The Netherlands from October 17-20.