Spotlight on Mentoring Circles

Mentoring Circles: A career booster

By Clark Morrow and Jeanette Horan

The Fairfield-Westchester Society for Information Management (FWSIM) established mentoring circles for members to share Information Technology leadership advice and expertise.

For some members, the groups have provided an opportunity to examine their careers and to move in new directions.

“Through the mentoring circle, I got a push to take my career in a personally fulfilling direction,” said Mario DiNatale.  DiNatale joined a new cybersecurity company, Kyber Security, as their CTO.

Mario’s mentoring circle is led by Jeanette Horan, formerly the CIO at IBM.  Horan’s circle meets roughly every six weeks.  At the end of the 2017, Horan had the group reflect on the value of the mentoring circle.  Members liked the discussions on a mixture of topics.  They also valued the forum for receiving peer mentorship on real-life leadership questions.

Horan attributes the success of the mentoring circle to several key factors.  First, she said, there’s a stable core of members.  That’s crucial.  Members get to know each other, which facilitates discussions. The meetings always begin with updates from members on job related movement or new opportunities being explored.

The mentoring circle operates as a true circle with all members being equal.  Horan leads some of the mentoring discussions but not all. She rotates discussion leadership among the circle members and they learn from their peers.

Also, topics are a mixture of soft skills and hard skills.  Soft skill discussions have included “culture and leadership” and “engagement between IT and the business.”  Hard skill discussions have included emerging areas such as Robotic Process Automation and the Internet of Things.

Beverly Lieberman and Jim Panos also run FWSIM mentoring circles.  Recently, there has been a waiting list to join a mentoring circle.  If you are interested in joining, or want to learn more, contact our chapter administrator, Joan Tancredi at