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Posted on: August 23, 2018

Mentoring the next generation of MCDOT Leaders

NACo Award Web Icon

Mentoring the next generation of MCDOT Leaders

“You cannot teach a man anything.  You can only help him discover it within himself.” ~Galileo Galilei

MCDOT Mentorship Program wins NACo Award

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors present NACo Achievement Award to MCDOT's Mentorship Program

(back row - left to right) Supervisor Denny Barney, Supervisor Steve Chucri, Supervisor Bill Gates, Supervisor Steve Gallardo, County Manager Joy Rich and Supervisor Clint Hickman; (front row - left to right) MCDOT Director Jennifer Toth, Mentorship Program Director Gina Martino and MCDOT Administrator Teresa Welborn


The Maricopa County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Mentorship Program was recently recognized with a 2018 National Association of Counties (NACo) Award as an innovative program to empower employees to become Maricopa County’s future leaders.

Why mentorship? 


In 2015, MCDOT conducted a survey of its employees and found room for improvement in the areas of communication, recognition, and career development. Additionally, MCDOT identified that 20 percent of its employees are currently eligible for retirement and another 20 percent will be eligible in the next five years. With a total of 40 percent of its workforce potentially retiring in the near future, MCDOT realized that a plan to preserve institutional knowledge and develop its employees was needed.

Sponsored by MCDOT Director Jennifer Toth and Administrator Teresa Welborn, the MCDOT Mentorship Program was developed.   Now entering its fourth year, the program  identifies emerging leaders, career development opportunities, and provides employees with a foundation to achieve their professional goals.

How it works


Mentees apply, interview and are selected by a panel to participate in the nine month program.  Based on their career development goals, they are paired with a MCDOT leader.  The mentor and mentee meet one-on-one at least once a month to discuss personal goals and achievements.  In addition, all of the participants meet together every three weeks to receive training on overarching program goals.  This training includes goal setting, resume writing, interview techniques, public speaking, networking and other “soft skills” such as verbal and non-verbal communication, professionalism, decision making, team building, personality assessment and emotional intelligence.

MCDOT Mentorship Program Mock Interviews

MCDOT Mentorship Program participants conduct mock interviews

One mentee shared: “I enjoyed participating in the Mentorship Program because the content has provided me with skills that benefit not only my position at MCDOT, but professionally overall.”

Each mentee received the opportunity to lead a group icebreaker, give a two-minute presentation, provide the group with an update on their goal setting, and give a final presentation at the Mentorship Graduation Celebration potluck.

The mentors also met as a group on a monthly basis to share information and provide support to each other. 

The results


With three years of graduates, many past participants report they have received promotions, been recruited for special work assignments, been asked to participate on interview panels, gained confidence in public speaking, learned how to better network, and developed relationships with MCDOT Leadership.

MCDOT Mentorship Program Graduation

MCDOT Mentorship Program graduation

Another mentee shared: “In almost ten years at MCDOT this is one of the greatest opportunities that I’ve had.  Anyone that strives for something more in their career needs to be a part of the Mentorship Program.”

The benefits aren’t just for the mentees.  One mentor shared: “As a mentor, it was great to see the personal growth in my mentee.  I learned so much from the entire experience.”

What’s next? 


After each year’s program ends, the mentorship class provides feedback to improve and develop the next year’s program.   Some of this feedback has included adjusting the length of the program, adding support meetings for mentors and providing more public speaking opportunities. MCDOT’s 2018-2019 Mentorship Program recruitment is now underway.

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