ASFPM has developed a culture that supports individual and organizational learning and development. Training, promoting best practices, sharing experiences and building relationships occurs naturally throughout the association and have been part of ASFPM’s fabric since its creation in 1976. A more formal mentoring program allows ASFPM to apply its strengths (e.g., knowledge, tenure, practice, variety of learning experiences, lessons learned, unified voice and credibility) while enhancing training and learning. Development of the ASFPM Mentoring Program is a strategic action to address ASFPM's priorities of building state floodplain management capability and developing future floodplain management leaders.
ASFPM has prioritized state floodplain managers, state NFIP coordinators, state flood mapping coordinators and their staff as the target audience for initial mentoring activities. The program hopes to expand to other positions in the future. Applicants should review the Eligibility Policy.
The ASFPM Mentoring Program was developed after extensive research and feedback. To develop the program, information was gathered through a variety of mechanisms (e.g., polling, best practice and literature reviews, environmental scans, existing organizational data, surveys, focus groups and interviews). Two pilot projects were conducted and then evaluated. A needs assessment was also invaluable to the design of ASFPM’s Mentoring Program, and is based on the following expectations of state staff who provided feedback:
- Participation will be voluntary.
- ASFPM will use a standard process for requesting and sharing information.
- The pool of mentors will be sufficient to address mentee needs in the theme areas.
- In most cases, the mentee will exercise a choice in selecting a mentor.
- ASFPM will provide training and resources for mentoring partnership participants.
- ASFPM will provide tools and a process for mentoring exchanges (e.g., website hosting, communication support, partnership management, file sharing, and limited direct cost reimbursement consideration).
- ASFPM will use a a process for dealing with problems (e.g., personality conflicts, non-responsive mentors, mentees who ask mentors to act as consultants, and requests that are outside of the scope of expertise).
- A mentoring agreement will identify the logistics and goals of the relationship; and an action plan will track activities and progress toward goal achievement.
- The mentoring program will be incorporated into what ASFPM does (e.g., mission, goals and vision aligned).
- ASFPM will support use of Community Assistance Program-State Support Services Element funding for state NFIP coordinator (often referred to as a state floodplain manager) mentoring activities.
- Program learning and development activities will be flexible and scalable.
- ASFPM will provide job aids, process documentation, situational examples and templates where appropriate to support learning and applying new skills and knowledge.
- ASFPM will provide "virtual" opportunities (e.g., webinars, conference calling and "ask an expert" opportunities) in addition to one-on-one, face-to-face exchanges.
- ASFPM will communicate with state floodplain management practitioners about program opportunities and activities to support professionals in this field in the day-to-day issues of the job.
The following graphic gives an overview of the mentoring process detailed in this document:
Overview of the ASFPM Mentoring Program.
At its core, the ASFPM Mentoring Program brings together mentors (those with expertise in one or more areas) and mentees (those who desire assistance in developing or enhancing skills). This is done through a custom online platform (the mentoring website and partnership workspace) that facilitates mentoring exchanges and provides unique mentoring resources to mentees and mentors.
Building state capability is the ultimate goal of the program, and strong state capability is achieved when capable professionals are in place in these jobs. With this aim, ASFPM’s Mentoring Program incorporates the following three elements in its overall design:
- Program development - These are the technical job skills.
- Professional/personal development - A mentoring-based approach ensures qualified mentors are matched with mentees to foster professional development.
- Leadership development - These are the higher management level skills such as organizational development, strategic planning and effective negotiating. Mentors often will have performed these activities.
Mentoring program participants may mentor or be mentored throughout their careers as situations change. Relationships between mentees and engaged mentors are driven by simple goals and action plans. ASFPM supports mentoring partnerships by providing straightforward guidance and enough structure for successful relationships.
Goals of the ASFPM Mentoring Program are to:
- Build floodplain management knowledge, skill and capability
- Provide trusted guidance and feedback
- Create a peer network and communication forum
- Provide timely situational guidance
- Sustain professional development
The program incorporates principles for effective state floodplain management program development, core competencies for professional development and experience for leadership development. The program is flexible and scalable. It provides a solid training curriculum (State Floodplain Manager One-on-One), a professional development standard (Certified Floodplain Manager®) and effective program guidance (principles and planning process) around the major elements of program, professional/personal and leadership development.
The program's primary purpose is to connect individual learning and growth with state capability for effective floodplain management. A secondary purpose is to sustain ASFPM knowledge and leadership through the challenges of organizational growth and transition. ASFPM mentors transfer knowledge, provide insight, and share experiences to develop effective state floodplain management programs and capable floodplain management professionals. Mentors provide the link between knowledge and skills and the day-to-day job duties.
ASFPM envisions that this program can be the primary resource used by state floodplain managers, state NFIP coordinators, state flood mapping coordinators and their staff for floodplain management training and professional development assistance.
The remainder of Mentoring within ASFPM defines the program parameters; Application Process explains the registration procedure; Mentoring Process details the mentoring partnership framework; and Building Successful Partnerships helps partners construct positive mentoring experiences.