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Youth and young adults at Immanuel (who we call seekers) benefit from accessing an underutilized asset: the wisdom and experience of other Immanuelites. Especially when it comes to careers, vocation and life planning.  How? Through one-on-one conversations.

We have a directory (pictured here) of over 125 Immanuelites who have registered as mentors. The mentors have registered  to have conversations with seekers – by video, phone, or (hopefully soon) over coffee.

Mentor directory

Use this orange button to access the directory:

Answers to common questions and tips are below. Click on the + to expand and the – to collapse.

If your question isn’t answered, email Steve Parker or Lynley Ogilvie.

Why have conversations with Immanuelites? What's involved?

Everyone benefits from career, vocation and life-planning advice.  Advice can come in many forms and from many different sources.

You can also benefit from different kinds of mentors – at work, in school and friends.  All of them can positively impact your life. Ideally, you will always have multiple mentors in your life.

Why, then, talk with an Immanuel mentor? Seven reasons:

  1. Immanuel seekers have raved about their conversations with Immanuel mentors.  Check out the testimonials here.
  2. Immanuel is a great place to learn how to network.  Study after study shows that the best career opportunities come from personal connections, not simply applying for jobs online.  Why not get better at networking in a loving community that wants you to succeed?
  3. You can talk with someone who has no agenda other than yours.  Work colleagues, friends, teachers, and guidance counselors all offer great opportunities for advice, but they can have their own perspectives and goals.  An Immanuel mentor can be a resource without any goal other than to listen and share.
  4. Immanuel mentors have amazing experience and wisdom.  Think about all the great careers represented in the congregation. Think about those who know how to ask good questions or who are great listeners and story-tellers.
  5. Immanuel mentors know people.  Pathways mentoring conversations have led to introductions to others both inside and outside Immanuel who are valuable sources of specific career experience and wisdom.
  6. Communities are great places to discuss shared values affecting important decisions.  Communities provide support for their members.  Career choices are value-based choices. Mentoring conversations provide an opportunity to explore those values.
  7. Immanuel is a great place to discuss the spiritual dimensions of your job, m career, vocation and life planning.  What’s your life purpose? Do you know what vocation is? Your vocation says a lot about who you are and what you are trying to accomplish on earth.  How is your job or career consistent with or further your vocation? Talking with an Immanuel mentor is an opportunity to share your thinking with a member of your worship community.  And it’s an opportunity to hear the stories of those whose faith likely influenced their choices.

Career mentoring conversations at Immanuel need not be long, perhaps 20 minutes to an hour, but that’s up to you both and your sense of how it’s going. 

A video conversation works well. Phone also is OK, but video is better. Many people like Zoom.

Mentors and seekers approach this in whatever manner is comfortable for both.

The purpose is simple:  to give seekers a chance to share where they are in their vocation and career exploration, ask questions and share concerns. This gives mentors a chance to tell their career stories, which is key.

Ask each other questions to get things going.  

There’s more on how to conduct the conversation in the tips about conversations below.

No. It is a request to have a single conversation and perhaps stay in touch.  Hopefully you will stay in touch, and additional conversations are welcome if both parties agree. 

Pathways is not a job-hunting service. Mentors are asked to not play a role in helping you find a job.

However, they can offer great insight into the choices you might face, whether in pursuing a new job, or in changing your role in your current job, or in thinking about how to advance in the workplace.

Mentoring can make a difference if you’re satisfied with the career choices you’ve made.  How do you envision your future growth and advancement?  how do you want to take advantage of what you have accomplished?

Pathways isn’t just for those who need to decide on a career, or for those who want to find or change jobs. No matter how happy you are with your career decisions, you probably still have many choices in front of you about how to identify and pursue your vocation, how to pursue different jobs, what kind of career you want and how live your life in a way that makes a difference in the world.

Most of the “Seven reasons these conversations can be great” above identify unique benefits of a mentoring program at Immanuel.

Other mentoring programs are also worth utilizing. You can’t have too many mentors! Work mentors can offer unique perspectives on workplace issues, and college alumni mentors offer great contacts and insights.

A community-based program, in a community like Immanuel, however, can’t be replicated in the workplace or other settings.  Only Immanuel can offer the experience and wisdom and support of Immanuelites!

We tell the mentors to assume they are. Mentors must respect the confidences of seekers if confidentiality is requested, and we suggest you bring this subject up if confidentiality is important to you.  

Needless to say, only discuss what you are comfortable discussing.

Of course! Better, actually, than ever.
If you’re tempted to not have conversations or suspend conversations if you’ve had conversations before, we suggest you increase the number you’d otherwise have. Why? Because these times of remote work in your apartments, distancing, NO sports and OD’ing on online entertainment call for increased human connection. And God knows (literally) that challenging times increase our need for reflection on how to give our lives – vocation and otherwise — real meaning. Also, mentors need the connection at least as much as you do. Help them feel needed! Remember, they have wisdom, experience and stories to share, and (confidential) ears to listen.
We rank the effectiveness of mentoring conversations in this order:

Works great:

Video chat, such as Skpye, Facetime or Zoom – all free, all easy to use. We think video chats are more productive than phone. Zoom works across devices and platforms, and is so easy to download that older mentors can do it easily. Start here if you don’t have it.

Works well:

Phone conversations.

Doesn’t work:

Having no mentoring conversations because of social distancing. You’ve had conversations, you know how helpful and inspiring they can be, as this feedback confirms. (Please email us comments we can post on this page, OK?).
No matter what, stay safe, and contribute to your better future self by having more mentoring conversations!
Ok, I'm in. What do I do?

The mentor profiles are in an Airtable program.  The program contains over 125 Immanuelites who have volunteered to be available to chat, over video, phone and (hopefully soon) coffee or a meal.   

Sign up by following two simple steps.

First:

Use the orange button at the top of this page, or just click on this link and submit the form.  Or email Steve Parker or Lynley Ogilvie and we’ll email you the form. Completing the form only requires you to give us your name and email address.  

The form also offers the option to provide additional information which, if you ask us, will allow a small group of Pathways administrators to suggest conversation matches.  (Reaching out to mentors would still be up to you, unless you ask for our help, which we’re happy to provide.) The information you submit on your form will be viewable only by those administering Pathways.

Second:

Once you submit your form, we’ll send you a link to the Airtable mentor profile program.  You will need to register for Airtable (which is free) using your email address and a password you select.   You can also download an Airtable app for Android or iPhone.

Then you’re ready to go!

If you don’t receive an invitation to the Airtable base, or if you aren’t able to see and review the “IPC Pathways career experience database.” just reach out to Steve Parker or Lynley Ogilvie.

The profiles show:

  • Mentor careers, by category
  • Those who are available to discuss specific careers, those interested in lifestyle issues, and those who feel they can help choose a career
  • Whether their experience is nonprofit, government, large company, and/or small company
  • Age (by range – did you really think they’d tell you how old they are?)
  • Their stories, briefly in their words, about what they offer seekers
  • When they’re available to meet
  • Their pictures, and links to their LinkedIn profiles
  • Email addresses, to request conversations

You can scroll through the profiles manually, or use a search feature contained in the upper right-hand corner of the Airtable page.  

This is an Immanuel resource. Mentors have agreed to be available to those with connections to Immanuel, whether or not they are members.  If you have friends who are connected to Immanuel, we strongly encourage you to send them a link to this page and invite them to register for access.  We would love for your friends to strengthen their ties to Immanuel!

Watch this brief video and/or read below.

One you’re in the Airtable mentor base (called the “IPC Pathways career experience database”), here are six tips for using the database to start conversations with Immanuel mentors:

First, you should review the Q&As on this page on selecting mentors, issuing the invitation, and making the most out of your conversations.

Second, save Airtable in your favorites.  Here again is the link to Airtable for your convenience: https://airtable.com/tblQHcY1S7ptwhXX6/viwC0nBxUTKfnPxiH?blocks=hideYou’ll want to go back to it from time to time to initiate new conversations.  Also, new Immanuel mentors are joining all the time.

You can also add it as an app for Android or iPhone.

Third, try playing around with the Airtable format.

  • Under the tab “seeker profiles” in the upper left hand corner of the IPC Pathways career experience base, you’ll see a “Grid view” and a “Gallery” view in the drop down options. Try each format to see which one you like better. In Grid, if you hover over a name, there is a diagonal arrow immediately to the left of the name.  Click on it and the entire profile pops up.  In Gallery view, just click anywhere and you see the whole profile.
  • In the upper right, there is a search button. Try career words (“government,” “legal,” etc.) and other words to narrow your searches. The search feature works better in the “Grid view.”
  • If you let your cursor hover over a cell, it will show all the words in the cell.
  • Some in the table have invited you to connect with them in LinkedIn. The link is included.  Take advantage of it!   You’ll learn more about them and see their contacts.

Fourth, go back to the Airtable database regularly. New mentors are continuing to register, so you’ll find new people to connect with.  Also, your interests, and what you are looking for from mentors, may change from time to time.

Fifth, as the registration form suggests, we are here to help you pick people to connect with, and otherwise assist in the introduction process if you’d like.  Just reach out to either of us.   You can email me or  Lynley Ogilvie or find us however you like.

Sixth, please give us feedback.  Tell us about your experiences, both good and bad, with the database, with setting up and participating in conversations, and anything else.

Yep. You can download an Airtable app for Android or iPhone.

Picking mentors, asking for conversations

First, almost every seeker, when they register for conversations, asks for suggestions for mentors from the Pathways “mentor matching squad.” Come back to us to discuss our suggestions (or ask us to re-send them to you if you can;t find the memo we sent you), and ask us to make more based on your feedback. Email Steve Parker or Lynley Ogilvie and we’ll connect you with one or more members of the squad to help you pick mentors.

Whether you ask for our help of go it alone, think first about why you want to have a conversation.  Look in the Airtable directory under the “What do I offer a seeker?” tab which displays how mentors have answered this question.

  1. Is your goal for the conversation to lead you further into a specific career? 
  2. Do you want to explore lifestyle issues raised by different careers?  Many mentors have experience and interest in lifestyle issues.
  3. What if you have no idea what you want to do?  Lots of mentors have experience finding their way through many paths to unexpected, fulfilling careers.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find someone who perfectly matches your interests.  

  • Part of the purpose is to find good listeners who can ask thoughtful questions and share their stories.
  • The conversations are also designed in part to give you leads to others inside and outside Immanuel who might be helpful to you.

Many say it is a good idea to pick a mentor you admire, or that has qualities you would like to emulate.

Simply click on the email addresses in the Airtable email field and it will create a new email to the mentor.

We suggest a short, simple email.  Be yourself, keep it light. It’s probably a good idea to say something about why you picked the person. Also, note what they say about their availability (it might have changed since they registered though). Here are a few suggested approaches to give you ideas, but again, you of course should use your own style.

“I found you in the Pathways database and would like to have a cup of coffee with you because you’ve worked in the government.  I’m interested in government service, but I need to learn more. I saw you’re available before or after the evening service. Is there a day in the next month or so that works for you?  We could meet at the church.”
“I saw in your Pathways profile that you have worked in consulting. I’m in college and I’m thinking about a career in consulting but I’m worried about the demands and work/lifestyle balance.  Would you have a few minutes to chat about your experience and share your thoughts about how I might get a better sense of what it’s like, maybe in a summer internship?”
“I watched your Mentor Stories video and loved the part of how you figured out how to change your career. I am struggling i nth job I’m in now and am thinking about a major career change.  I’d love to bounce a few ideas off you.”
“I’m just out of college and looking for a job.  I have a number of different ideas for careers, and saw in the Pathways database that you are available to discuss that, and you’ve done lots of different things.  I’d love to hear about how you made your choices.”

That’s up to you.  But the goal is for the seeker to have multiple conversations with different mentors. Also, if it’s been a while since you’ve had a Pathways mentoring conversation, it can be a renewing experience.

At the end of each conversation, we hope you discuss who else the seeker should chat with, either inside or outside Immanuel.  The mentor should consider introducing the seeker to others who could be helpful, or let the seeker use the mentor’s name when introducing himself or herself to others.  

Having multiple conversations helps:

  • Learn more about specific career opportunities
  • Get different perspectives
  • Offer spiritual insight into career choices
  • Learn to network more effectively
  • Understand how those who have travelled different career paths have wrestled with common issues
Suggestions for making your conversations great

First, you ought to review the Q &As above — particularly the first two — under “Why have conversations with Immanuelites? What’s involved?”

Follow your instincts and style about how best to conduct a conversation, but you might keep a few things in mind:

  • Treat it as any conversation you might have with an uncle, aunt or an older friend, about your career path.
  • Use the conversation to learn the mentor’s career path and story.  While his or her path is almost certainly not yours, hearing what he did or what she liked and didn’t like will be useful.

Finally, most important:  Have fun!  Be yourself!  Relax and remember Immanuel mentors are there to support you and your future.

Please try to be efficient with your time.  We suggest you agree up front on the amount of time planned for the conversation.  

It’s also good to agree up front on the purpose of the conversation — thinking about the three categories identified in the profiles (specific career, lifestyle, picking a career).

Remember first to tell your story, and ask for questions.

Then ask for stories from the mentor that might bear join your story. Ask questions when you hear the stories.

There’s lots to be learned from stories. 

Figure out what you want to share with the mentor. In addition to telling them why you reached out to them and what your goals for the conversation are, what is it about you that you want them to know? There’s not enough time to tell your life story or all your troubles, so pick what is relevant to the conversation. For example, you might focus on topics such as:

  • How to get more fulfillment out of work
  • How you can get more out of the job you’re in
  • A decision whether to look for a new job
  • How you decide whether to go to graduate school
  • How to figure out what kind of career you want
  • How can I prepare for a career that provides deeper satisfaction?

Try to get to know your mentor by reviewing his or her Pathways profile. If the mentor has a video on the Mentor Story Resource Map, watch the video.

Also, look at the mentor’s LinkedIn profiles and send a connection request.

If you know anyone who knows the mentor and you’re comfortable, ask about the mentor. 

What you ask depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the conversation, what you’ve learned about the mentor, and the story you want to share. But here some examples:

  • How did you choose your career? Do you have regrets about your choices?
  • What might you have done differently if you were able to get a “do-over”?
  • What have you found most fulfilling about your work life?
  • What do you wish now you had known when you were my age?

It’s not a job interview or a headhunter interview. This is not about the mentor helping you get a new job.  It’s to give you perspectives and ideas about the paths you might consider following.

It’s also not about the mentor telling you what to do. Mentors are not equipped, and don’t know enough, to tell you what career path to pursue, or to give career advice. The goal is for you to share your story and questions, and to hear their stories and learn from them.

At the end of the conversation

  • Ask for advice on who else inside or outside Immanuel you should chat with
  • Ask if they’ll introduce you or if you can use the mentor’s name in introducing yourself.  If no names immediately come to mind ask them to think about it and get back to you

After

  • Send a thank you note, regardless of how productive your conversation was.  They’ll appreciate it and will be more likely to want to help other seekers.  
  • If there are follow-up steps, refer to those in your thank you note.
  • Keep going back to the mentor directory and requesting conversations with more mentors.  We are continuing to add mentors, so it’s worth checking back from time to time to see what’s new.

Reflect on what you learned

Mentoring conversations are an art, and practice and reflection improves the benefits. Pathways is partly about learning how to have these conversations in an environment that is accepting and supportive (duh, it’s Immanuel).  

Our goal is for you to want to have more, and more productive, conversations.

There are many great resources to improve your mentoring conversations.  Here are a few:

  1. There are several lists in the Resource Maps on mentors and mentoring.
  2. Watch the videos of Immanuel mentors on Mentor Stories Map. These are great mentors you can learn from.
  3. This entry in our Signposts blog: Making Your Mentoring Conversation Count
  4. This article in Forbes has five great suggestions for improving your mentoring relationships.
  5. One of our favorite resources is Designing Your Life, by William Burnett and Dave Evans, a New York Times best-seller based on a popular career exploration course taught at Stanford.  The book has great thoughts (pages 115-117) about conducting a mentoring conversation, which they call a “Life Design Interview.”
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