The underrepresentation of women in theology, biblical studies, and philosophy of religion has been an issue for decades. Finding female mentors in these fields can be difficult, but through Carey Baptist College's project - the Theological Anthropology, Fundamental Need and Human Flourishing: A Women Scholar’s Project, in partnership with Logia International – they made it possible! Using SUMAC they launched their Global Mentoring Programme - a year-long scheme to support women in divinity disciplines.
We interviewed the project leaders to get insights into the project's impact and success:
Q: How was your organisation impacted by adding a mentoring scheme?
A: We supported or are currently supporting 87 women through mentoring relationships (35 mentors, 52 mentees) spanning thirteen countries on five continents. Women have been encouraged, inspired, guided, and coached toward their personal goals.
Q: What were some ways you created a successful mentoring scheme using SUMAC?
A: We used a multipronged approach to ensure success. We leveraged the Project leader's previous experience to develop the initial profiling questions for the mentors and mentees. We also created awareness through various networks, including the Logia website and other social media platforms. Additionally, we used SUMAC’s system intelligence for matching but allowed the mentees to choose their mentors through provisional matching. We provided a get-to-know-you activity to help ease nerves about the first meeting. We recorded a short tutorial video as a resource that is available on our website. Periodic check-ins throughout the mentoring relationship timeframe and having a team on standby to respond to questions or concerns were also key to our success.
Q: What are some statistics/data you can provide that highlight the success of your organisation using SUMAC’s platform?
A: We surveyed post the 2022 programme, and the feedback on most of the parameters ranged between 63% -80% "very satisfied" the mentees. What was particularly important for us to see was that there was continuous interest from all the mentees who would carry on studying and enter the field of academic or ecclesial employment. From the data, 4 /11 were “more likely” to enter the field as a result of their partnership. The rest remained the same in terms of likelihood and none became less likely to continue in the field. For this type of project initiative, every single “more likely” result is significant.
With regards to using the system, and from the feedback form that we sent out to the mentees and mentors, we asked the question - How was the signup and matching process for you? We scored 4.82 out of 5 (Mentees) and 4.29 out of 5 (Mentors).
Q: How did SUMAC help in the lifecycle of your mentoring scheme?
A: SUMAC specifically helped us with collecting profile data, doing the matching, creating communication templates, sending out the communication, and keeping track (via reports) of specific details pertaining to the mentoring relationships. Regarding assistance, the SUMAC team was incredibly supportive. They were available and patient to train us on 1:1 and given the time differences were accommodating and creative in terms of sending clear responses to our questions via email or pdf documents that we could follow. The training upfront and ongoing support from the SUMAC team were excellent!
Q: What advice would you give to other people setting up a mentoring scheme?
A: Excellent mentoring programmes deliver a wide range of benefits from enhancing performance, inspiring confidence, providing direction to life’s challenges, developing individual professionalism, and potentially creating lifelong relationships. However, the success of the programme depends heavily on getting the right matching upfront and having clear expectations. With formal mentoring, our advice would be to ensure there is clarity on what outcomes are expected, set the programme goals and timeline clearly as you reach out to the mentors and mentees, provide clear guidelines on role expectations and time expectations, ensure that the communication is simple and clear, and provide the opportunity for feedback early in the journey to the programme supporter.
Learn more about the mentoring programme and expectations on their website: https://logiatheology.org/mentoring-program/