Mentoring and Diversity: An International Perspective

Chapter 6: Individual case studies

Sexual orientation and mentorship: the benefits of a gay mentor/gay prot g relationship

Brian Welle1

I entered my current organization a non-profit women s advocacy organization that conducts research and provides consulting services to corporations in 1998 as a research associate. As one of the few males in the organization, and the only male in my department at the time I was hired, I was a clearly visible new employee. I stood apart from my colleagues not only in terms of my gender, but also because of my atypical work schedule: at the same time that I began my new job I was working to complete my doctoral studies in organizational psychology, so chose to work only a part-time schedule of three days per week. Finally, my identification as a gay man clearly distinguished me from a majority of employees in my organization.

Rachel, the woman who was to become my mentor, and I met formally after I requested an informational meeting with her. Because our organization does not have a formal programme in which new employees are matched with a mentor, I made a point of introducing myself to those individuals who were working on interesting projects and seemed to be well regarded within the organization. Rachel was one of those people. Upon our first meeting, we quickly started to develop an informal mentoring relationship.

Rachel was a senior research associate at the time that I joined the organization. She had about two years tenure and, like me, was...

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