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Mentorship Matchmaking at Confluence 2022

The fewer people you know in a room, the more intimidating it can feel. To combat that intimidation at this year’s Western Collaborative Conservation Network (WCCN) Confluence, the Emerging Leaders Working Group (ELWG) will be pairing participants interested in being mentees and/or mentors. The group hopes that this effort will help build community, spark new relationships across the WCCN, and connect emerging leaders with the broader network of collaborative conservation.

The ELWG formed after the 2020 WCCN Confluence highlighted the need to support emerging leaders in collaborative conservation. From their formation, the group saw mentorship as an integral part of empowering and enabling the next generation of collaborative leaders across the American West. The idea of a need for mentorship came from emerging leaders themselves, as the ELWG is a mix of those just entering collaborative conservation and those who have spent years working in the field.

The ELWG recognizes that everyone is a mentor in some aspects of their life and career and a mentee in others. Therefore, Confluence registrants were able to choose to participate in both roles.

The ELWG will be pairing registrants who indicated their interest in being a mentee and/or mentor based on:

  1. Similar interests (such as from bios or peer-to-peer session rankings),
  2. Similar types of institutions (e.g., government agencies, nonprofits, academia), and
  3. Different geographies (to weave relationships throughout the WCCN).

We are asking our mentors and mentees to meet four times: once before Confluence, twice during (such as once during/after a session they both attended, during lunch, or before/after the day’s program), and once after.

To get conversations going, the ELWG will provide optional prompts. These include questions from mentees to mentors like: When you were at my stage of career, where did you think you would be and how is that different from where you are now? What’s a failure you experienced early in your career and what did you learn from it? What skills do you use most frequently in your work now, and what skills are you still developing? Questions from mentors to mentees can include: What skills or situations are you anxious about navigating in the future? What support do you need to navigate the challenges you’re currently facing? Where would you like your career to go, and what steps are you unsure of taking to get there?

Mentors and mentees will be connected by the ELWG via email in the coming weeks. If there are any questions, please email Barb Kipreos at