Research

Learning through Osmosis

A Report on the Seattle Mentorship Program’s Pilot Session

Traditional mentorship can bridge the gap between industry experts and newcomers, however, time and commitment can be barriers to forming these relationships. In this article, we introduce an alternative approach to mentorship that links growing professionals with firm leaders for short-term shadowing opportunities that occur on an ongoing basis. Through observing the mentors’ actions, thought processes and decisions within the context of the mentor’s ongoing work, the Osmosis mentorship program sets out to determine whether an informal and low-commitment approach to mentorship can aid in career development and promote knowledge sharing within firms. The pilot session of this program paired four mentors with four mentees in two chosen areas of interest with mentees spending, on average, one hour per week partaking in related exposure opportunities. At the close of the pilot session, narrative evaluation revealed that mentees gained greater career insight and breadth of knowledge into their area of interest. Mentees also reported the success of the program in providing a platform for self-advocacy and self-direction. Mentors noted the role of the session in increasing exposure and learning at the firm, as well as preparing mentees to better contribute to their project work.

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