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MentorMatch

SWANA’s MentorMatch is the perfect place to pair up experienced solid waste professionals willing to share their expertise with colleagues, young professionals, and students looking for guidance or information to help advance their careers in the solid waste management and recycling industry. This program allows both Mentors and Mentees to grow professionally and personally through each interaction with other SWANA members.

MentorsMentees
  • Share your knowledge and expertise with others
  • Pay it forward
  • Enhance your leadership skills
  • Build lasting business and personal relationships with colleagues
  • Grow your network and knowledge base
  • Strengthen your skills in the industry
  • Feel more prepared for career advancement
  • Build lasting business and personal relationships with colleagues
  • Gain valuable resources and problem-solving techniques

Take Your Career Development to the NEXT Level!

Step 1 - Enroll

When available, fill out the appropriate enrollment form to tell us more about your background so we can help you find the right match! *Must be a SWANA member to participate. Not a member? Join SWANA today!

Spring Session (March – August)

Mentee Enrollment
(Opens February 2022)
Mentors Enroll Here
(Anytime)

Fall Session (October – March)

Mentee Enrollment
(Opens Sept. 2022)
Mentors Enroll Here
(Anytime)

*Note: Sign in to your SWANA account to join the MentorMatch Community forum on the MySWANA website under the "Communities" tab at any time to connect with like-minded members and receive program updates in-between enrollment periods.

Step 2 - Search

Mentees can then search through the list of mentors (provided by SWANA) to select their match.

Step 3 - Connect

SWANA will then connect each mentee to their selected mentor for ongoing mentorship (including guidance from SWANA) for up to six months.

*Note: Participants will have the option to end the mentorship at any time or continue for up to six months before re-establishing another relationship with either the same person or another person during the next session period.

Questions?

Contact Shelby Truxon at struxon@swana.org for further assistance.

MentorMatch FAQs

General Program Questions

  • What is MentorMatch and how does the program work?

    SWANA’s MentorMatch program offers both long-term and short-term opportunities for experienced solid waste professionals willing to share their expertise (Mentors) to connect with colleagues, young professionals, and students (Mentees) looking for career guidance in the solid waste management and recycling industry.

    For long-term mentorships (up to six months), follow the steps above to Enroll, Search, and Connect. Mentee enrollment will be available twice a year in February and September for the current session in which 10-20 matches will be made per session. Sessions will run from March to August in the Spring and October to March in the Fall. Mentors can enroll in the program at anytime to be added to the Mentor Directory for mentees to search through during enrollment periods.

  • Is there a fee associated with using MentorMatch?

    MentorMatch is a benefit of your SWANA membership and is available only to members. There is no extra charge to use this resource.

  • Are there other short-term MentorMatch opportunities available?

    Yes, SWANA will offer one-time mentorship opportunities (outside of Fall and Spring) for those looking for short-term interactions. Possible programming will include:

    • Speed Mentoring Events: Fun, informal networking/mentoring event for mentees to rotate between rooms to meet and chat with a series of experienced professionals on career topics.
    • Small Group Webinars: Allows individual mentors to have one-time Q&A sessions with a group of mentees (5 or 6) using SWANA's online webinar platform.
    • MentorMatch Community Forum on MySWANA: Available year-round for members interested in connecting with like-minded members and receiving MentorMatch updates from SWANA. Simply sign in to your SWANA account to join the MentorMatch Community forum on the MySWANA website under the "Communities" tab at any time.

For Mentors

  • Can I have more than one Mentee?

    While there is no limit to the number of mentoring relationships you can establish, we recommend that you be judicious in selecting only Mentees who are most suited to learn from your expertise and experience.

  • How do I end a mentoring relationship?

    If the mentoring relationship has already started, but isn't working out, please kindly discuss your decision to end the relationship with your Mentee and notify SWANA. Other than that, all matches have up to 6 months to complete their mentorships before they automatically end in our system.

    To be removed from the Mentor Directory for future matches, email struxon@swana.org.

  • How do I know if I'm qualified to be a mentor?

    Just about anyone with an interest in sharing their experiences in the field can be a mentor. Some more specific Mentor requirements after you’re matched include:

    • Filling out your MySWANA community profile with information about yourself
    • Responding to follow-up inquiries from SWANA staff
    • Completing the initial discovery call checklist with your mentee
    • Committing to focused conversations with your mentee (recommend one hour each month)
    • Providing insight, knowledge, and understanding in an educational manner to benefit the mentee's professional growth
    • Committing to each mentee for the agreed upon length of the mentorship (no more than six months)
  • How much time will I need to invest as a Mentor?

    We recommend that you and your Mentees agree on a schedule that works best for both of you. The most important thing is to discuss your mutual expectations about time and communication at the start of your relationship.

    Keep in mind that mentoring doesn't necessarily require large amounts of your time. Even brief phone calls or e-mail exchanges with you can make a big difference to your Mentees. The annual meeting also offers a convenient venue for getting together with your Mentees over coffee or lunch.

  • How will I know if a Mentee has selected me as their Mentor?

    You will receive an e-mail from SWANA with the Mentee’s request for you as their Mentor. At that time, you will be instructed to respond to SWANA with your acceptance or rejection of the request by a set deadline.

  • I've never been a Mentor before, how will I know how to guide them?

    The Mentees are tasked with leading the relationship. All you have to do is share your experiences and expertise in common growth areas within your field such as: Leading/Managing/Motivating, Networking/Relationship-building, Time/Organization, Branding/Marketing, Productivity/Profitability, Strategic Planning/Developing, Work/Life Balance, Technical Skills, Communication, Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Resolution, and Problem Solving.

    SWANA will also check in to provide you and your Mentee with tools and guidance along the way.

  • What are the expectations for participating Mentors?

    We expect that you will fulfill your commitment to accept at least one mentoring request when received. We also expect you to respond to initial requests from Mentees in a timely manner, and that you communicate with your Mentees as agreed upon by both you and your Mentees.

  • What benefits do I receive from SWANA if I participate as a Mentor in the program?

    All Mentors are volunteers. As an active program participant, you will receive a ribbon in your online MySWANA profile identifying you as a Mentor. Personally, mentors also receive the chance to:

    • Share your knowledge and expertise with others
    • Pay it forward
    • Enhance your leadership skills
    • Build lasting business and personal relationships with colleagues
  • Who are the Mentees?

    Mentees are other members who need you to help support their careers. They’re typically students, young professionals, and fellow colleagues with interest in areas such as:

    • Collection & Transfer (including HHW)
    • Communication, Education & Marketing
    • Composting and Organics Management
    • Landfill Gas & Biogas
    • Landfill Management
    • Management
    • Planning & Management
    • Safety
    • Sustainable Materials (i.e. recycling, resource mgmt., zero waste, HHW)
    • SWANA Leadership
    • Waste to Energy

For Mentees

  • Can I have more than one Mentor?

    Mentees can only work with one mentor per session (Spring or Fall), but can participate in as many sessions as needed.

  • How long does the mentoring relationship last?

    You and your Mentor will show as matched in our system from March – August in the Spring or October – March in the Fall. During this time, SWANA will provide you and your Mentor with monthly guidance for your mentorship; however, we recommend that you and your Mentor agree on a schedule that works best for both of you.

    The most important thing is to discuss your mutual expectations about time and communication at the start of your relationship.

  • How often do I need to enroll in MentorMatch?

    Mentee enrollment is available twice a year in the Spring and Fall. Mentees will need to re-enroll for each session they intend to participate in when made available. Due to the limited number of mentees (10 per session), please avoid enrolling if your schedule or commitment abilities will keep you from fully participating from March – August in the Spring or October – March in the Fall.

  • What if the Mentor isn't the right “fit” for my needs?

    Sometimes, regardless of the information provided, Mentors and Mentees don't always “fit.” If this happens, we suggest that you discuss your decision honestly and kindly with your Mentor; thank them for their time then notify SWANA to be re-matched in the next session.

  • Where can I meet with my Mentor?

    It is up to you and your Mentor to decide how, when and where you want to pursue your mentoring relationship. It is likely that most of your communication will occur by phone or electronically. The annual meeting offers a great opportunity to meet in person.

  • Who are the Mentors?

    Mentors are other members who have volunteered their time to support other members' careers. They’re typically fellow colleagues and/or SWANA leaders with experience in areas such as:

    • Collection & Transfer (including HHW)
    • Communication, Education & Marketing
    • Composting and Organics Management
    • Landfill Gas & Biogas
    • Landfill Management
    • Management
    • Planning & Management
    • Safety
    • Sustainable Materials (i.e. recycling, resource mgmt., zero waste, HHW)
    • SWANA Leadership
    • Waste to Energy

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Testimonials

Thank you for letting me be the first (mentor) for what I hope will be many MentorMatch small group webinars… Again, kudos to national for this program and the effort to promote the professionalism of our industry from A to Z by encouraging networking across the distances.

– Deborah Barton - Retired District Manager for Solid Waste Special Service District #1, South Dakota

It is a great opportunity to get advice on some of the more difficult issues that you might be hesitant to ask a co-worker. The path for knowledge is unlimited. Try it!

– Michael Greenberg - President GT Environmental, Inc.

My mentorship is immensely helpful to me on both a personal and professional level. I always look forward to our conversations. Thank you for offering this wonderful program!

– Sheridan Boyle - Recycling Specialist City of Clearwater

ArtMercer
I find this very rewarding and an excellent program.

– Art Mercer - Supervisor of Landfill Operations Region of Halton in Canada

TiffanyDunn
I’m so glad that I signed up for the mentor program. My mentor has been a great and offered some great advice on some projects that I’ve been working on.

– Tiffany Dunn - Executive Director Saline County Regional Solid Waste Management District

Thank you so much for having this program.  I have already found it rewarding and inspirational.

– Kimberly Worthington, PE, LEED AP - Deputy Commissioner City of Chicago

DaveAdams
The [solid waste] industry has provided a lot of opportunities for me and others and I feel an obligation to pass along information to the next generation.

– David Adams - Principal/Senior VP Sanborn Head

TianaSvendsen

MentorMatch is the best SWANA membership benefit. Whether you are a recent graduate or a tenured professional, everyone has something to gain through mentorship.

– Tiana Lightfoot Svendsen - Environmental Outreach, Garland Environmental Waste Services, Texas

BarrettJensen

It’s not about what you have to lose or not, it’s about the mentee that will miss out on your knowledge and experience in an industry that they are interested in.

– Barrett Jensen - Solid Waste Director of Mesa County Solid Waste Management