Mentors Needed for ClassE

Coles County Entrepreneurship ClassE Mentor-Protégé Program ClassECreating Connections 2017

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please read the description below, fill out an application on our mentor page, and contact Jeanne Dau at

A mentoring program provides an effective networking model for ClassE students.  Establishing effective connections will strengthen student’s understanding of complex career paths and develop greater social skills through the mentorship experience.   Ultimately, these relationships strengthen the ClassE program’s success and build generational bridges between Coles County ClassE students/graduates and the business communities.

For clarification of title and roles, a mentor is a business owner, entrepreneur from a Coles County business community who is willing to share his or her time and expertise with a ClassE student.  A Coles County ClassE student is a protégé who seeks direction from the mentor’s valuable experience in order to grow personally and or professionally.

Mentoring provides both the mentor and protégé the opportunity to expand and develop their exposure into the ClassE experience and business community and an avenue for students to find resources and be empowered to resolve their challenges from within their own communities.

The program is named “ClassE- Creating Connections” and will be executed through the efforts of the Class Facilitator and Network Developer with several mentor- protege activities throughout the school year.  In early September the concept of the mentorship relationship will be introduced to the class.  The class will dedicate a day to protege training. They will be given the opportunity and guidance of preparing a profile page used for the Mentor Matching process.

In mid to late October a Mentor Matching evening will be established for all Protégés and Mentors to meet, share their profiles and select their choice of who they would like to match with.   A board appointed committee will evaluate and match up the ClassE protégés with their mentors following the Mentor Matching evening.  Within two weeks, preferably less, the mentors will be invited to meet one hour prior to the class to introduce themselves and meet the student protégé.  Two mornings will be offered to the mentors so to allow management of their schedules.  The mentors will be expected to remain in attendance for the class that morning.

If it occurs there is not a match the committee will hand select a mentor from the communities that meet the protégé’s goals.  While it is not recommended, at times a mentor may want a student protégé he or she selects prior to the Mentor Match evening. It is still recommended that the mentor and student attend the Mentor Match and it is most likely they will end up being matched, but it is not a guarantee to the mentor.

In order to execute the best matches for the ClassE students, it is recommended that five (5) mentors in excess of the student class size be selected and attend the Mentor Match evening.  It is encouraged that the five mentors not matched with a student be utilized as ClassE Ambassadors.  They will work with the students on social skills through class visits and be presented the opportunity to sit in on discussions throughout the year in preparation for the ClassE Trade Show.

The ClassE board of directors will establish a “Mentor Advisory Panel” to assist the protégé and mentor on specific business issues.  The mentor should as needed, or requested by the protégé, refer the protégé to the panel member providing specific expertise in area the mentor may need assistance in advising the protégé.  These panel members may be made up of experts in banking, insurance, marketing, logistics, retail management, construction, or any other needed field of expertise and would remain on the panel until they elect to resign.

Proper training and setting expectations for both the mentor and protégé is key in growing these professional relationships to the next level.  The student commitment is the only way relationships can develop and grow over the years.

All mentors will complete the mentor application and allow for a background check. Once these items are completed the mentor student relationship can proceed.

Mentor and Protégé Expectations

There will be five (5) planned mentor – protégé opportunities planned by the ClassE Facilitator and the Network Developer to meet together throughout the school year, but the following expectations are expected.

1.  Mentor will early in the mentoring process invite the protégé to tour his or her business or make arrangements to go out on the job with the mentor.

2.  Protégé will invite Mentor to class a minimum of two (2) times during the school year.

3.  Mentors and Protégés may want to team up with another pair(s) and have group

discussions.   Sometimes conversations flow more readily in a group atmosphere.

4.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Respond to all text, emails or phone calls promptly even if to simply to acknowledge receipt of the communication.

5.  Be respectful, punctual and work toward developing a business relationship that is beneficial to both of you for now and in the future.

6.  Protégé should share or discuss the weekly class reporting logs with the mentor on a regular basis.

7.  Mentor should refer the protégé to the “Mentor Advisory Panel” when and if

needed.  Consider accompanying the protégé to any advisory meeting.

8.  Protégés will share his/her business plan, preferably in person, with the Mentor prior to making the class presentation pitch.  Protégés will invite the mentor to attend his/her business plan presentation to the class.

9.  All Mentors and Protégés are expected to attend and participate in the Trade Show.