Mentoring is a known evidence-based practice that has proven effective in supporting people across the lifespan to achieve desired goals and aspirations. The GULEND is offering mentoring to all trainees to embed cultural and linguistic competence and cultural diversity in their career and life goals. GULEND identified a stellar cadre of people from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds to serve as mentors for all trainee cohorts.
Cultural competence and linguistic competence are essential for health professionals to responsive to the diverse populations that reside not only in the District of Columbia, but also nationally including tribal nations and territories as all interactions are cross-cultural. The capacity to acknowledge, understand, and respond positively to cultural differences are key components of Mentorship for Equity. Given the well-documented racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in diagnosis and interventions in ASD and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, cultural and linguistic competence is especially relevant for these populations across the life course.
This component of GULEND is based on previous work of the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) and is designed to support trainees to embed cultural and linguistic competence in their career and life goals. Tawara D. Goode, Associate Professor and Director of the Georgetown University NCCC and Director of the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities is leading this GULEND component.
GULEND trainees will have the opportunity to be matched with a mentor that embraces the philosophy stated below who can guide them in ways to understand and practice cultural and linguistic competence in professionally and in life.
Mentoring is a collaborative learning relationship between individuals who share mutual responsibility and accountability for helping the mentee work toward the fulfillment of clear and mutually defined learning goals. Mentoring is used to assist individuals at specific stages of development or transition and lasts for a sustained but defined period of time. The mentoring relationship provides a developmental opportunity for both parties and can thus be of mutual benefit.1
Mentoring is a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspectives to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else.2
Mentor A mentor facilitates personal and professional growth in an individual by sharing the knowledge and insights that they learned through the years.3
A mentee as an achiever– groomed for advancement by being provided opportunities to excel beyond the limits of his or her position. *
Many definitions of mentoring depict the relationship between mentor and mentee as unilateral.
GU LEND posits that this relationship is indeed bilateral and mentors continuously acquire knowledge as they support the talents, interests, and needs of their mentees.
1 Zachary, L. J. (2002). The role of teacher as mentor. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education.
2 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
3 Georgia State University, Inclusive Mentoring.
* Original source no longer available on the California State University Alumni Mentoring website
Former NCCC Leadership Academy Faculty
I have been a mentor for several years within the disability community with an emphasis on supporting youth. I have also mentored professionals through my experience with the NCCC's Leadership Academy. Mentoring provides such a platform for freethinking, expression, and the evolution of ideas. As a mentor I feel blessed to be able to provide a gift on my unique perspectives but it is also a gift to be able to learn from those that I am mentoring. I believe that one of our purposes in this world is to share and impart knowledge to one another - including the lived experience of disability, our similarities and differences.
My values include acceptance, understanding, diversity, and lifelong learning. Value: Acceptance of people for who they are, all of their identities, so that they can be their best selves across the life course. Value: Understanding means we have to take time to truly know each other without this we will remain divided as a people. Value: Diversity is embracing the differences and similarities among all people including diversity of thought. Value: Lifelong learning to me means that we cannot get a degree or certification and think "OK I'm done." We continue to learn and grow everyday. That is what mentoring is all about the shared learning experience.
LEND Program Director
Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator
Westchester Institute for Human Development
Center on Disability, School of Health Sciences and Practice, New York Medical College
I have had the benefit of mentors throughout my personal and professional life. Each has had a significant impact on me and have influenced my growth and development. Just as I have gained and benefitted from their experiences and expertise, I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with others in the development of their leadership goals and skills. I have been fortunate to do so as faculty and program director in the LEND training program at WIHD, NYMC.
A good mentor is one who provides guidance and support through active listening and thoughtful questioning; sharing of their knowledge and expertise; and providing opportunities for review and self-reflection. The mentor-mentee relationship is a collaborative process and one that is mutually benefitting with both gaining from the experience.
Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to have had wonderful informal and formal mentors. Each mentor facilitated my skills and provided support to challenge me in new areas of professional development. I have extensive experience mentoring individuals from various disciplines in my work for over 30 years. Mentoring is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my job. I am passionate about supporting individuals in gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to grow and be successful in their work.
The relationship between the mentor and mentee is the core of the process and is based on the individual goals of the mentee. Mentoring involves encouragement, guidance and reflection which includes thoughtful questioning and active listening by both parties. Each person's personal and professional experiences and interests enrich the relationship which is a two-way experience with both mentor and mentee benefitting from the process.
Clinical Professor of Public Health (Emeritus)
Founding Director of the Center for Leadership in Disability, GaLEND, and AUCD Leadership Academy at Georgia State University
Mentoring and being mentored are some of the most meaningful experiences in my professional life. So, as someone recently retired from my university position, what could be better than being invited to serve as a mentor? It offers the opportunity to engage in a deeply personal way with someone who will make a difference for the next generation.
I think mentoring is grounded in what the mentee wants to accomplish – with just a little bit of challenge to clarify priorities and values. I believe this can be done with support, some humor, exploring options, clarifying questions, and the encouragement to take the next step.
Assistant Director; UCEDD Training Director
Sonoran UCEDD | Department of Family & Community Medicine
University of Arizona, College of Medicine
I have been fortunate to have several wonderful formal and informal mentors provide guidance in my chosen career path within the disability field. Not only have I learned how to navigate the systems and politics within the field, but I’ve also been able to determine the kind of leader and professional I wanted to be through the benefit of their example, advice and experience. One of the aspects of my role I enjoy most, is being able to do the same for others. I believe that everyone can contribute and learn from one another; and it is incredibly rewarding and an honor to support and be part of someone’s leadership and learning journey.
I view mentoring as my chance to empower and encourage others to explore and identify passions, as well as expand their knowledge. I believe that mentoring is a bi-lateral exchange that is mentee driven. I recognize that what others bring to the relationship by way of culture, skills, experience and ideas have immense value and enriches the relationship. It is the responsibility of both the mentor and mentee to be willing, prepared, informed, available and engaged in the mentoring process. It is essential that mentors encourage and engage in supportive, compassionate, and open communication. Ultimately, mentoring is an opportunity for both parties to learn and benefit throughout the experience to achieve their respective goals.
Diversity and Inclusion Program Specialist
Language Access Coordinator
New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
I owe a debt of gratitude to the mentors who have provided both personal and professional support throughout my career. As someone who has benefited greatly from mentorship, I am honored to have the opportunity to provide support to other professionals who are working to advance cultural and linguistic competence in the field. I believe that cultivating cultural and linguistic competence is one of the most pressing issues of our time and that the way we approach this work will have a lasting impact on the health care field.
Influencing change within a workplace and beyond is challenging, mentoring is one valuable tool to provide ongoing support and to sustain this work over time. I approach mentoring as an opportunity to form a meaningful relationship with another colleague who shares the value of advancing cultural and linguistic competence. I believe that mentoring is a creative and collaborative endeavor that requires both structure and flexibility. It is important to have clear goals, as well as room for open conversation, so that innovative solutions can emerge.
Director for the Office of Disability Right, District of Columbia Government
I am interested in serving as a mentor, because investing in the professional development and growth of our next generation of leaders is the greatest obligation. Commitment and service was instilled in me at a very young age by my grandfather who served during World War II and was the epitome of "The Greatest Generation".
As a mentor, I am committed to: (1) sharing my expertise and knowledge; (2) taking a personal interest in developing the mentoring relationship and investing in the overall success of the individual; (3) valuing the ongoing endeavor to learn and grow, while illustrating that the disability field is constantly dynamic and changing, and; (4) providing guidance and constructive feedback by identifying the individual’s strengths and areas of growth; and (5) assisting with using personal and professional characteristics and traits to make the mentee more effective and successful in the disability field.
Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership
California State University Sacramento.
Senior Community Health Supervisor
UC Davis Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Mentoring is a passion and privilege for me. I understand the gravitas that formal and informal mentors had in setting the positive trajectory of my career journey and want to model that experience for my mentees. As a mother scholar of a Black autistic child, my aim is to equip and prepare the next generation of advocates, practitioners, and scholars to dismantle oppressive systems and practices that harm BIPOC disabled people and see my mentoring as a key part of that process.
My passion to become a professor is largely because of my love for mentoring and teaching. I mentored individuals ranging from the age of six to seventy-six and could learn from and see growth in each person I mentored. To me, mentoring is both an art and a science. The time and creativity that I place into individualizing the experiences of each of my mentees has always given me so much joy. I truly consider it a privilege and honor to be a facilitator of their growth process and make it my priority to individualize their experiences to give them what they need to get the most out of our interactions.
Bilingual Academic Consultant
Georgia State University, The Center for Leadership in Disability
University of Massachusetts at Boston, The Center for Community Inclusion
I have been mentoring undergraduate and graduate students at Georgia State University through an initiative (Latino/a Mentoring Pipeline) created to provide Latino/a students with the opportunity to learn best practices serving Spanish-speaking communities, inclusive of families with children and youth with autism and other developmental disabilities.
In tandem, as a parent of a son with nonverbal autism and epilepsy, it is highly important to me that clinical and non-clinical professionals gain awareness, knowledge, and skills to become culturally and linguistically responsive to the needs of diverse families like my own.
Moreover, I have had phenomenal directors and professional mentors over the years, people who have created spaces for me to develop and enhance my creative ideation, leadership qualities, and innovation vision(s). I look forward to “sharing all I know” and learning from my mentees in a caring, participatory, and reciprocal process.
A good mentor is someone inspires others. And is dedicated to their craft and the development of others in equal measure. Add to that integrity and passion and good humor and laughter when and where needed.
Senior Medical Advisor, AHRC- New York City
Medical Specialist, Metro Developmental Disabilities Services, New York State Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
I am interested in serving as a mentor because of the benefits I have received from mentors throughout my professional career. The mentors have provided their expertise and guidance without compensation. I now have the opportunity to give back by assisting a mentee in his/her personal and professional development. I also continue to learn and be informed with a mentoring partnership. I see this relationship as being mutually beneficial to the mentor and the mentee.
I approach mentoring based on my core beliefs of mutual respect for all individuals. My professional and personal expertise is given freely to assist a mentee in their professional and personal development. My goal is to empower a mentee to succeed to their fullest capacity. My reward is assisting in the mentee’s growth and development. My hope is that the individual’s personal and professional outcomes exceed his/her expectations.