Pam-x-Tara-980x600.jpeg True Blood’s Tara and Pam, vampire mentee and mentor 

By Kevin Bard, NLC-SF Mentorship Chair

In my capacity as the New Leaders Council’s San Francisco mentorship chair, I don’t make as much money as Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger (I am a volunteer) or have as much fun as a vampire maker on True Blood (too messy for my taste), but the professional links I facilitate are just as lasting and rewarding – probably more so.

Once an NLC class is chosen each December, I spring into action, pouring over each new fellow’s file and then cross-checking potential mentors in our database. San Francisco’s NLC mentorship program continues to draw more and more attention from applicants and potential mentors alike. This year alone, a high-profile elected official insisted that her name be placed on the active list of mentors for the 2014 class (a class that hasn’t even been chosen yet), I discussed our program with an applicant over drinks, and a potential mentor in the business world wants to chat about mentoring over drinks this week. (Calendar reminder!) And now this bloggy thing. I guess Cupid’s work is never done.

This is how the program works: Mentors and fellows meet at least three times over the institute period, but ideally, these relationships are endless. Each mentorship is unique. Some are briefer and more intense (2013 Fellow Adam Maldonado shadowed SF Supervisor President David Chiu on the job at City Hall); others are more friendship-based (2013 Fellow Vernon Williams III and Bay Area School Board Member Tony Thurmond come to mind); while other matches are more social in nature. (One match I made led to a fellow meeting a member of the cast of Mad Men; I’m still jealous I wasn’t invited.)

Next year’s class has yet to be finalized, but I am excited at the opportunity to shoot feathers from my quill. Progressive links like the ones showcased above bode well for the future of our country and the quality of our rising progressive leaders. Once this year is wrapped up, maybe I should change my name to Lilith, the first vampire maker.

Kevin Bard serves as mentorship chair for the New Leaders Council San Francisco chapter.