The following article was written by OAPSLO member Greg Bauke, President of Cincinnati based Specialty Underwriters Group. It first appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of WIN Magazine and is reprinted here with permission.
BY GREG BAUKE
THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS, BUT THE COMMON POINT AMONG THEM IS THAT ALL PARTIES – THE MENTOR, MENTEE, AND IMPACTED ORGANIZATION – ARE IMPROVED BY THIS VERY PERSONAL METHOD OF INFORMATION SHARING.
If you light a lamp for someone it will also brighten your own path.” – Buddhist proverb.
Think of a time when some-one with more experience gave you a tip, an insight, an introduction, or a new perspective that put you on the right path and saved you from making a mistake or passing up an opportunity. If you are like most, those times are too numerous to count. As the Buddhist proverb provides, inevitably in such cases, both the provider and the receiver of the wisdom are made better by the experience. Most of us have benefited from such a relationship at some point in our professional careers. There are many types of mentoring relationships, but the common point among them is that all parties — the mentor, mentee, and impacted organization — are improved by this personal method of information sharing. When our agency first affiliated with the AAMGA two years ago, I personally was the beneficiary of a number of members who encouraged and directed me to understand the greater purpose of the AAMGA and the value of becoming active in the organization.
It is with similar intentions that members of the AAMGA’s membership and marketing committees have been working for the last few months to create a mentorship program aimed at matching our new members’ needs to AAMGA services, resources and networks. Additional mentoring programs are anticipated in the future, but the current focus is to assist new members.
The foundation for the program is to ensure each new member company is paired with an AAMGA mentor to welcome them to the association and provide information and guidance through the new member’s first annual convention.
We anticipate the pool of mentors will be supplemented by active board members, past presidents and committee members, as well as leaders of the Under Forty Organization (UFO), who have a broad understanding of the benefits of the AAMGA. The primary objective is to utilize the experience, enthusiasm and network of the mentors in a personal format that allows for a unique understanding of the benefits of the AAMGA, and will serve the current needs and future objectives of the new member. The desired intent is to create an involved, long-term AAMGA member.
The method the working group will use to provide program structure and facilitation will be to assist the mentors by providing mentor guidelines, instructions and an understanding of the myriad of AAMGA member benefits. A mentor pool will then be created by profiling the mentor candidates for their interest and background experience. Similarly, the new member interests and background information will be collected and this information will be used to pair the mentors with the most advantageous new member.
The working group of the membership and marketing committees will organize a mentorship team. This team will gather now member information from the AAMGA headquarters team and use this to pair them with a mentor. The team will support the mentor by providing new member background information, as well as documentation of member services. The team will provide uniforms objectives or expectations to assure the impact of each relationship is enhanced by a structure that assures information is shared and there is a frequency of communication. Guidelines on how to measure success will be developed and the team will follow up with both parties in each mentoring relationship to provide assistance. The team will share good experiences in the form of testimonial advertising to publicize the program and build on success.
The mentor’s responsibilities will include making the welcome/introduction call to the new member and answering questions, as well as determining the needs and interests of the new member. The mentor will provide the intentions and expectations of the mentorship program and set the communication schedule for future discussions. The team will provide a new member kit or packet. This packet may take the form of a few different packets of information that are separated in time, with the hope of providing information that may shape or direct the mentoring discussions.
The program structure and expectations provided by the working team is intended to provide a medium for uniformity of experience. The ultimate success of the mentoring program will be defined by the level of personal communication and support that develops between both parties in the mentoring relationship. Personal meetings of the mentor and mentee are encouraged.
The anticipated time horizon of the program is for the mentor and new member to work together from the time the new member joins the AAMGA until the new member’s first annual meeting. By that time, the mentor will have guided the new member to a better understanding of the AAMGA structure and workings, and with the new member engaged in a positive direction within the organization. The mentoring relationship culminates with the mentor meeting and guiding the new member through their first annual meeting.
The working team is currently engaged with developing the program process and structure. Over the next few months, it will be developed into a program proposal that will be provided to the board of directors. We are excited about the positive impact that the program will have in shaping the AAMGA membership of the future.
Greg Bauke is president of AAMGA wholesale member Specialty Underwriters Group in Cincinnati, Ohio. Contact him at GBauke@sugroup.net
**This article first appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of the AAMGA’s Wholesale Insurance News magazine and is reprinted here by permission.**