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AFMC reinforces value of mentoring, AFMC We Need

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

To ensure the command and the Air Force has a strong leadership base to fly, fight and win into the future, the Air Force Materiel Command continues to encourage personnel at all levels to participate in mentorship programs in 2021.

“Our job as leaders is to prepare the next generation to take our place,” said Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., AFMC Commander, in a recently released mentoring video. “Part of being a mentor is sharing some of those lessons so that we make sure the next generation is ready to step in without the Air Force missing a beat."

In conjunction with January’s National Mentoring Month, the AFMC Mentoring Team has refreshed the program’s focus, tying mentorship more closely to the command-wide AFMC We Need initiative.

“Mentoring is a crucial part of professional development at all levels,” said Mandy Smith-Nethercott, AFMC Career Development Program Manager and mentoring team lead. “Our program focuses on the relationships that can build between a junior and senior Airman or civilian that provides for reciprocal exchange of information and growth at all levels. Mentoring can help us to build a workforce for the AFMC WE Need.”

As part of the rebrand, the mentoring team drew inspiration from the word “need” to explain how mentoring enables the development process. According to Smith-Nethercott, mentoring provides a platform to, “Nurture, Educate, Encourage and Develop our current and future workforce.”

­Nurture:  Mentoring enables a person to pass along knowledge, experiences, successes and failures to help another in their career journey. By guiding through open and honest dialogue and exchange, mentoring enables a nurturing relationship that promotes career and personal growth in another.

Educate:  Rather than focusing on the skills that a protégé lacks, an inspirational mentor helps a person to develop their strengths while introducing educational paths and opportunities that can help them attain a higher level of proficiency in work and life. 

Encourage:  Mentoring relationships do not solely focus on one’s successes. Mistakes and opportunities to improve are shared in an effort to help another improve. Resilience is an important quality in any line of work, and mentors can help a person develop this skill while providing an opportunity for a person to talk openly about any topic related to their career or personal ambitions.

Develop:  The mentor’s role is to guide and help the mentee develop themselves both professionally and personally. Mentors may be able to help a mentee in different ways such as growing the mentee’s network, overcoming challenges with their role, creating a career path, and creating long term career goals.

To learn more about the AFMC Mentoring Program and access videos and resources, including Bunch’s mentoring message, visit