Women Achieving New Directions (WAND) is a career-upgrading program for low-income, employed single mothers. Since 1989 it has offered a variety of volunteer opportunities to women who have already advanced in their careers.
Mentors are professional women who bring strong insight into job requirements and advancement, positive workplace role models, and regular skill building connections. Their skills and contributions are available to program participants. Mentor activities include: Professional Career Guidance Workshops, the Connection – a monthly evening networking session, family events including Family Fun and the Winter Celebration events, the Participant/Mentor Recognition Conference, one-to-one mentoring, a Mini Job Fair, and special activities.
Professional Career Guidance Workshops
- Career Laddering Workshops are offered once a month in the evenings. Participants in the workshop focus on developing the skills and confidence to: create and refine career goals, design a winning resume, ace the interview, negotiate salary and be seen as on the fast track for promotion. Mentors provide professional network contacts, share information about different work cultures and their own career development process.
- Self Empowerment is a one session evening workshop, which is offered twice a year. Participants focus on assertiveness skills; self-confidence and self care for success. Materials presented are based on Janet Hagberg’s Real Power and Stephen Covey’s Seven Principles of Highly Effective People. Mentors network with participants and assist facilitator as needed.
- Special Topics – A variety of one-session workshops are offered throughout the year on topics such as: financial management and budgeting, electronic/internet job search, dressing for success, stress management, career path panels, time management and home ownership. Mentors assist by presenting materials and networking with participants.
Single Mom’s Connection
This is a fun and slightly more informal group that is offered once a month from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Participants get “Pumped Up” for the job search process, share an evening meal, listen to a short job related presentation and network with each other and mentors.
- Mentors place information in their company and professional organization newsletters and help distribute flyers for WAND workshops.
- Volunteer to represent WAND at community and business events.
- Mentors advocate for WAND funding with employers and foundation groups.
- Mentors connect WAND with business associations funding opportunities.
- Mentors link WAND participants with community scholarship funds.
Annual Participant/Mentor Conference
- Mentors help with activities on the day of the conference, as well as suggesting speakers and conference presenters to WAND paid staff.
- Mentors publicize the conference.
- Mentors solicit donations for prizes and individual gift bags.
- Mentors make financial contributions to help offset the cost of facilities and catering service.
- Mentors are available in a networking capacity, by phone or appointment, to provide information about the company that they work for and their field of employment.
- Mentors refer participants to other contacts for informational interviews or employment opportunities.
- Mentors conduct mock interviews with participants to assist them in improving their interviewing skills and self-confidence.
Ongoing Program Needs
- Money for childcare scholarships and transportation needs for participants attending WAND workshops.
- Gifts-in-kind to WAND program, such as: professional women’s clothing, holiday gifts for participants and their children, computers and laptops for participant use.
- Refreshments or light meals are always needed for workshop attendees and their children.
- Childcare help is needed for each workshop.
- Educational curriculum and activities development and facilitation for children in childcare during their parent’s workshops.
- One-to-one mentors must have completed one year of volunteering with WAND and/or have experience as a one-to-one mentor, prior to their enrollment at WAND.
- Mentors assist WAND participants in setting and reaching career goals. They encourage and support participants to increase their “professionalism” and expand their business and support networks. This level of involvement requires an additional application process, as well as a background check.
Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the Greater Twin Cities Area of Minnesota