Senior Fellow “godparents” give back to younger generation
The strength of the Melton Foundation network lies not just in the ideas and perspectives emerging from diverse cultures and disciplines, but also in the ability to motivate and assist each other. To further boost this support structure, the MF has a mentoring program called the MF Godparents. Through this program, every Junior Fellow joining the foundation is teamed up with a Senior Fellow “Godparent” to make the best out of their fellowship. Senior Fellow and Godparent Pooja Veerappa shares her experience:
“I’m a God-mommy!”
I joined the foundation in 2011, when the MF Godparenting skipped a generation, so I missed having a Godparent. Fortunately for me, BMS still practiced junior fellow mentoring, giving me two wonderful mentors. When you are new in a foundation like the MF, you’re joining the continuation of an ongoing mission and companionship. Integration becomes key to sustain motivation here.
As a fellow in training, I reached out to my mentors with ‘N’ number of doubts and questions. Since you bring your own passion and vision into the foundation, it’s unnecessary for someone else to monitor your work. So you need encouragement rather than supervision. The interactions I had with my mentors did just that and made me more confident with my role in the foundation in those early months.
When you are new in a foundation like the MF, you’re joining the continuation of an ongoing mission and companionship. Integration becomes key to sustain motivation here.
So when I became a Senior Fellow, I wanted to be an MF Godparent so I could reciprocate the mentoring I received. As Senior Fellow, I also moved away from the campus and couldn’t foresee many Melton gatherings in my future schedule. I felt like I was losing the connection and bond I had with the MF and this turned into an additional impetus to sign up for the program in the hopes to retain the sense of personal connection in the foundation. It worked.
In my first application, I was assigned two new fellows as my godchildren. Reading the mail introducing them made me squeal; we have so much in common! My two godchildren were older than me by age and progressing a lot further academically too. I remember thinking, “who’s mentoring whom?” Right from the initial talks we had, it was evident that they were full of energy and very driven. I didn’t think they needed much mentoring beyond a few basic catch-up talks and brainstorming ideas.
“The gratifying pride you draw from your godchildren’s work acts as a stimulus for your progress”
After a second application, the initial call with my new “God-kiddies” was a close match to my earliest Skype meetings as a new fellow myself. It had the same excitement to get to know the other person and again, discover many shared passions between us. I think I’ve cracked the code on how godchildren-godparent pairings are made! Having these similarities works wonders, as you end up discussing matters that interest and concern you deeply with the fellows you have a close rapport with – this clarified and strengthened my own commitment to the issues. This, in addition to the gratifying pride you draw from your godchildren’s work, acts as a stimulus for your progress too.
Clearly, being an MF Godparent is a rewarding experience where you get to help another fellow start their journey in the foundation – in doing so, you nurture your own journey here.