Skip navigation

7 Tips for an Event Mentorship Program

Knowledge sharing, community building, engagement: a conference-initiated mentorship program checks all those boxes. Here’s some advice for getting started.

Part four of our feature on pre- and post-event strategies for year-round impact

Peer-to-peer mentorship programs that begin in-person at a conference and continue throughout the year can have big benefits for both attendees and the host organization.

In addition to knowledge-sharing and networking between mentor and mentee, the conference organizer is seen as fostering collaboration and building community—and as a result may see higher levels of attendee engagement and satisfaction. 

Caitlin Fox, vice president and marketing strategist at mdg, A Freeman Company, has helped to launch conference-initiated mentorship programs and has this advice:

Clarify your objectives: Determine what you hope to achieve with the mentorship program, whether it's fostering professional development, facilitating networking opportunities, promoting knowledge sharing, or all of the above. Having well-defined goals will guide the structure and implementation of your program.

Understand your audience: Take the time to understand the needs and preferences of your event attendees. Consider their career stage, industry interests, and specific areas where they may benefit from mentorship. Tailor your program to address these needs, ensuring relevance to your target audience. 

Design a structured program: Develop a framework for your mentorship program that outlines the program duration, frequency of interactions, and expectations for both mentors and mentees. Establish clear guidelines for communication, goal setting, and accountability.

Recruit diverse mentors: Seek out mentors with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and expertise relevant to your event's focus areas. Look beyond traditional industry leaders to include up-and-coming professionals, entrepreneurs, and subject-matter experts who can offer unique perspectives and insights to mentees.

Facilitate mentor-mentee matching: Implement a thoughtful matching process to pair mentors and mentees based on their goals, interests, and compatibility. Consider factors such as industry alignment and career aspirations, and allow participants to provide input during the matching process.

Encourage networking opportunities: Consider creating opportunities for program participants to connect beyond formal mentorship sessions. Networking events, workshops, and panel discussions in regional areas can give mentors and mentees a chance for additional in-person connections. 

Celebrate successes: Recognize the achievements of participants throughout the mentorship program, and the impact of mentorship on professional growth, skill development, and relationship building within your event community. Solicit and then showcase success stories and testimonials to inspire future participants and reinforce the value of mentorship. 

Collect feedback and iterate: Gather feedback from mentorship-program participants to identify strengths and areas for improvement. Use this feedback to iterate on your program design, matching process, and support mechanisms.

Read more in our series on effective pre- and post-meeting engagement:
Want Meetings with Year-Round Impact? Use These Strategies
The Winning Ingredient: Power Teams
Powerful Pre-Meeting Engagement: A Case Study

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.