In the initial months following the onset of the pandemic, Verisign made a commitment to invest in skill development in a rapidly changing professional and economic landscape. Mentorship was an important part of that commitment, and that’s what led the Verisign Cares team to partner with NPower in the NPowerMATCH program.
NPowerMATCH mentors commit to a 22-week pairing with a mentee, as well as monthly interactions as part of NPower’s National Virtual Mentoring Program. The focus is on career readiness, professional development, problem-solving and more.
As a participant in NPowerMATCH, Verisign matched its employees with NPower graduates. Dr. Burt Kaliski, Jr., Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Verisign, was paired with graduate Luis Blanco, for an experience that allowed them both to share perspectives on goal-setting and meeting major milestones.
Dr. Kaliski says he was impressed with Luis from the start.
“Luis impressed me as an enthusiastic learner who had specific goals for career advancement,” said Dr. Kaliski. “He was getting ready for his first job after completing the NPower program when we met and was already looking ahead to how he could make the most of this job and prepare for future opportunities.”
The two broke the ice over a discussion about goal setting. Luis had recommended a book and they both began to discuss their respective goals and how to reach them. Dr. Kaliski said the goal discussions benefited him just as much as Luis.
“We both had goals that were important to us at the respective stages of our careers. We talked about the importance of meeting milestone dates along the way. Luis shared his set of deliverables and milestones, and his determination was good motivation for both of us to stay focused on meeting our goals.”
Luis is a graduate of the NPower New York Tech Fundamentals program. He had an eye on where he wanted to start in tech, but the mentoring experience helped expand his perspective and carve out long-term career goals.
“My mentor helped show me that it isn’t bad to change routes sometimes, even when you feel you have everything planned out,” said Luis. “Don’t get fixed on the outcome you believe will occur. Allow yourself the flexibility to pursue new paths as these slight changes in course still often take you onto the road of success.”
Overall, Dr. Kaliski says the mentor experience at NPower allowed him to reflect on how his own experience with aspirations and opportunities for improvement can help other learners develop their career paths. He encourages others to take part in the NPowerMATCH program and offers advice on how to make the most of the rewarding opportunity.
“Be a good listener and try to understand what the mentee wants to accomplish from the mentoring relationship,” said Dr. Kaliski. “Take the lead in setting clear goals with your mentee on how you want to use the 22 weeks together – a very short amount of time in the big picture – and set a steady pace of activities toward your mentee’s objectives over the course of the five months.”
To learn more about how you can become an NPowerMATCH mentor, visit www.npower.org/mentor.