By Marie C. Fortin, PhD, DABT, and Shaun D. McCullough, PhD, chair and co-chair of the SOT Career Resource and Development Committee (CRAD)
Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship in which a mentor shares knowledge and insight gained through their experiences with a mentee. Mentoring is most viable and successful when accompanied by common interests — both professionally and personally — that serve as the basis for a fruitful interpersonal relationship. It is common to have many mentors throughout one’s career. While one mentor may coach you through balancing your work and family life, another may help polish your CV or make your case for a promotion. Throughout one’s career, mentors old and young will provide insight based on their personal experiences that mentees can adapt to their situations. Each year, SOT offers opportunities for mentors and mentees to meet at the Annual Meeting, but these events are only a starting point, and fruitful mentor/mentee relationships must be nurtured through follow-up interactions outside of the Annual Meeting.
Under the guidance of SOT Council, the SOT Career and Resource Development Committee (CRAD) undertook a year-long assessment of the Society’s current career development activities to identify strengths and weaknesses and ensure that SOT provides resources to meet the current and future needs of its members. Using the information collected, CRAD has developed a multi-year strategy to strengthen the existing mentoring programs through engaging with the SOT component groups (Regional Chapters, Special Interest Groups, and Specialty Sections), developing programs to build and hone ever-critical soft skills, and increasing the diversity of mentoring and networking programs across industries, career stages, and cultures. Over the coming years, CRAD will develop a range of new content, including webinars and recommendations for maximizing success, and will support the organization of mentoring events by component groups. These programs and resources will help both mentors and mentees establish and sustain mutually rewarding relationships to give every SOT member the tools needed to enjoy a successful career.
The field of toxicology is constantly evolving to keep in step with changes in scientific perspective, the integration of cutting-edge technology, and the ever-altering regulatory landscape, to name a few, and CRAD is committed to providing programs and resources designed to keep the Society’s members at the forefront of their fields.
Keep an eye out for upcoming announcements to ensure that you don’t miss a great opportunity to further your career by taking advantage of these great new programs. Please feel free to email us at SOT Headquarters if you have any comments or suggestions for ways to enhance CRAD programs, resources, and mentoring.