McKinstry’s Mentorship Program Working to Build Relationships and Grow Careers

When McKinstry’s Mentorship Program launched in August 2022, program manager Rachel Boehme knew our Put People First value would enable a successful program. But she was surprised — and thankful — when so many applications came in. Currently, there are 84 mentors and 96 mentees across the country.

Just six months in, Rachel says, “Knowing how much value our employees find in their mentorship relationship is inspiring. In our first follow-up survey, one mentee said it felt like a perfect match, with similar learning styles, real-world experiences, and relatable stories.”

The program gives McKinstry employees a way to connect and engage with others outside of their day-to-day, grow professionally and personally, and learn about the company outside of their own role.

Meet Shannon, Jessica and Katie

Mentor Shannon Steward, associate account executive, Technical Services, currently has two mentees, Jessica Jozaitis, senior construction project engineer, and Katie Jacobson, sales operations specialist. All three signed up when the program launched.

“I know women in this industry can feel vulnerable asking technical questions of their co-workers. With my position representing McKinstry across the country, and 20 years in the industry (4.5 at McKinstry), first in construction and now in sales, I thought I’d be a good resource,” Shannon said. Scheduling is their biggest challenge, but what makes it work, she says, is the program’s flexibility and how open and purposeful both mentees are. While she signed up to make a difference, she’s learning, too.

Had she mentored others before? Not officially, although having coached 12 little league teams, she felt prepared.

Katie Jacobson, whose previous work spans teaching to finance, said, “This is the first place I felt I had a career rather than a job. I signed up to learn how to grow my career from someone with greater tenure in the industry. My biggest takeaway is not to be afraid to ask for what I want or need regarding my career. I have new perspective on how to think about and approach my growth here.” She recommends the program and believes mentors and mentees should look for someone in a different business or corporate service unit. “It’s never too late to have a mentor.”

Jessica Jozaitis, too, speaks highly of the program. New to McKinstry, she says, “The program has exceeded my expectations, and I know it will help me in my current role and beyond. Shannon is in Colorado, and I’m in Seattle. She’s in Technical Services, and I’m in Low Voltage Construction. I wanted a mentor on the Sales side of McKinstry who could help me fuse the two disciplines together. As women in construction, I feel we have a particular advantage in this industry. Shannon has showed me that with the right attitude and grit, there are no limits to what we can do.”

To participate, mentors and mentees complete an application and share something about who they are and what they do; mentees also state what they want from the program. The time commitment is flexible, and mentees drive the conversation based on their desired outcomes. Career progression is the major theme, although reasons vary; some want to expand their internal network, and others want to explore different career paths. The topics are rich and diverse.

“I’m thankful for all the mentors who signed up to help others grow, and for the mentees who trusted the program — many said they ‘feel lucky’ to meet their mentors,” said Rachel.I’m so happy our team was part of the process to connect them.

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