DOINews: Mentoring at Interior

Last edited 09/05/2019

Mentoring at Interior

Working Together, Growing Together

This month we are featuring one of our Department's mentoring teams. Warren Christopher and Marian Thomas are participants in the Office of Policy, Management, and Budget Mentoring Program. Here is what they have to say about what mentoring means to them.


Warren Christopher:We can learn in a variety of different ways, including by experience, by reflection or by modeling. However, when we follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, we can progress rapidly towards our goals. The word 'mentor' comes from Homer's Odyssey. When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan wars he left his son, Telemachus, in the care of the nobleman Mentor. Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, assumed the role of Mentor in order that she might give Telemachus useful advice. Through Mentorship, Athena acted as an advisor to the young Telemachus, helping him to overcome challenging obstacles.

When we fast forward to more recent times, we can see a very similar relationship formed when we witness a true mentor/protégé dynamic. Mentors provide their expertise to less experienced individuals in order to help them advance their careers, enhance their education, improve in their personal growth, and/or perhaps, broaden their networks.

Mentoring to me is about believing in the unlimited potential of another person and relationships! It's a tried and true, long-standing method of transferring knowledge, insight, expertise and wisdom of one person to another. Most often, a mentor is a more experienced person who acts as a role model, guide or leader. Mentors have experience in both the work and life world and share this experience, advice and encouragement with others who are in the process of current or future career or personal development. Finally, mentoring to me is about Dignity and Respect--respecting other people and their desire to learn more… it's about the transfer of tacit knowledge.

Warren serves as the Chief of Staff, DOI Nation Business Center.

Marian Thomas:The true definition of a Mentor is a more experienced individual who accepts the commitment to act as an advisor, leader, or role model. A mentor must have previous experience in the business profession and everyday life. The mentor and protégé develops trust to succeed as a business partnership. Transferring of knowledge, insight, and expertise is priceless. In summary, the characteristics of a true mentor are integrity, compassion, fairness, and honesty.

Marian serves as the Executive Staff Assistant at the Department of the Interior (DOI), Office of Business Services (OBS) and Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).


Left: Warren Christopher, Right: Marian Thomas

Photo(s) by Tami Heilemann - DOI Office of Communications

Mentoring Tip:

Trust is the foundation of every mentoring relationship. Without trust neither party will feel comfortable discussing sensitive experiences that may be valuable learning opportunities. To build and sustain trust in a mentoring relationship, do not make promises you cannot keep.


If you would like to learn more about becoming a mentor or protégé, please contact the Office of Policy Management, and Budget (PMB) Mentoring Program Coordinator, Alex Tremble ( Contact Alex Tremble if you are currently engaged in a mentoring relationship with another DOI employee and would like to be featured in our monthly announcements.

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