Willie L. Brown, Jr. Leadership Center { University Advancement }

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Internship Program - Mentorship

The purpose of the Willie L Brown Internship Program mentorship component is to help students understand: (a) how local government and local government agencies function, (b) how to pursue meaningful careers in public service, and (3) how to develop skills that will enable them to be effective professionals and leaders who can effect change in society.

The mentorship relationship is a structured component of the Willie L Brown Internship Program. The goal of this component is to “match” mentees with compatible mentors who are working in the public sector but are not their direct supervisors and/or do not work in their divisions. We have developed this structure so that the student can have someone with whom they can talk openly about career and workplace issues.

Ideally, the mentee will be able to approach their mentor with honesty, introspection, realistic expectations, accountability, and a willingness to talk about mistakes, failures, and areas of professional weakness which they hope to address. Ideally, they will see their mentor as someone with whom can they talk freely about their professional growth, turn to for help in assessing their professional skills, identify strengths and weaknesses that they need to address, who will guide them through challenges, and help them to reduce stressful situations by making good professional and personal decisions. 

Willie L Brown interns are expected to take the mentorship relationship seriously. Since building trust takes time, it is important to meet regularly and to keep the learning process moving forward. Each new discussion that an intern has with their mentor should include updates from the mentee on items the mentor recommended in the previous talk.

Supervising an intern effectively takes time and is a responsibility but, it can also bring benefits to the mentor that include:

  • Opportunity to help young people fulfill their career aspirations
  • Opportunity to gain leadership practice
  • Improving your communication, management, and leadership skills.
  • Allowing you to articulate the important dimensions of your profession and professional practice and, how your work serves the public.
  • Providing an opportunity for you to learn from your intern.
  • Helping to developing effective public sector professionals and leaders
  • Assisting mentees to achieve a successful work/life balance


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