by CIO Staff

Group Mentoring Provides Strength in Numbers

Apr 22, 2010
IT Leadership

CIOs-in-training get advice, support through mentoring relationships in the Council’s Pathways leadership development program

Howard Rosen, Chartis

It’s also been helpful to me that the Pathways program staff worked to make sure the people in my group came from organizations other than my own. Even if they are in the same industry as I am, their lessons and advice for me are coming from an entirely different perspective than the one my co-workers and I share. Another benefit of this is that you can talk about specific obstacles you’re encountering with people who have no vested interest in the situation.

Michael Kohlman, Cook Group

My mentor groups have been big players in helping me gain those skills and figure out how to deal with the senior business leadership in my organization. I have received advice from my CIO mentors, but also from peers who are positioned a little higher up in their own organizations. Recently, my team was tackling the implementation of a project that was disrupting users and services, and I knew from that previous experience that a mandate from above to get this done wouldn’t be enough to bring the project to completion without significant pushback. When I brought this to my mentor group, I got some nice, concrete tips on how to lay the groundwork and make connections ahead of time to minimize resistance. This time, because my team laid out a plan to communicate with stakeholders and set expectations, we could successfully address the resistance.

Heather Hartman, Care New England Health System

Being in my specific mentor group was particularly helpful to me because my mentor also came from the healthcare industry. He was able to provide valuable outside-but-relevant perspective on some of the user and strategic needs I was addressing, which benefited my company in the solutions I suggested or provided. It was also great for me personally, because I only recently moved into health care from manufacturing, and my mentor was able to provide a lot of advice on the huge cultural differences.

Because it is a group experience, though, every individual needs to bring something to the meetings in order for the group to get the most out of the program. I had a good, active group with lots of people speaking up. We really got to know each other through sharing experiences and problems. There is also a baseline level of trust fostering that open atmosphere when you start, because it’s assumed that we’re all there to learn and we want to be involved.

The CIO Executive Council is a global peer advisory service and professional association of hundreds of CIOs, founded by CIO’s publisher. To learn more, visit