Mentoring in Manufacturing – Developing the Next Generation of Leaders

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by | Jan 19, 2021

January 17, 2021 was International Mentoring Day. Every member of the Polaris MEP team has benefitted from working with mentors over the years. And, we see the enormous difference mentorship makes in the Rhode Island manufacturing community. 

Polaris MEP feels privileged to collaborate with The Leadership Partnership of Rhode Island (TLPRI) in itswork with emerging manufacturing leaders. TLPRI’s Advisory Board includes manufacturers such as Toray Plastics, Taco Comfort Solutions, Banneker Industries and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

In this guest post, TLPRI Outreach Manager Gerry Marzilli outlines their mentoring programs and shares an inspiring video.

By Gerry Marzilli, The Leadership Partnership of Rhode Island

In recognition of International Mentoring Day, I would like to introduce you to The Leadership Partnership of Rhode Island. We are a REAL JOBS RI funded program committed to providing leadership training to Rhode Island employers. Realizing the need to train the next wave of workplace leaders, our partnership provides training at 3 distinct levels of leadership. New/Emerging Leaders, Supervisors and Leadership Coaches/Mentors.

The cornerstone element of our program is our “Being a Leader” course. Our manufacturing partner employers select new and emerging leaders who have demonstrated competencies or have displayed potential.

Our course of instruction follows the elements of the Korn Ferry competencies. The program is three-phased, with a classroom instructional element, an on-the-job capstone project using learned competencies, and the opportunity to be mentored by an experienced leader. Each mentor is first trained in the TLPRI Learning through Leadership Coaching program.

Learning Through Leadership Coaching is mentoring! It’s designed for experienced leaders who want to share their expertise with new/emerging leaders. The methodology is strength-based and seeks to develop the mindset, skillset and toolset necessary to help others grow.

Participants meet for 18 hours of classroom instruction, attend a mentor/mentee workshop and gain self-awareness through several self-assessments. Participants will have the opportunity to mentor a new/emerging leader from our “Being a Leader” training program, receive a certificate and continuing education units from URI, and membership in the Mentoring Network.

Major topical items covered include:
• Leadership
• Clear Communication
• Change
• Decision-Making
• Intelligent Use of Emotions

The TLPRI Mentoring program has received numerous “Rave Reviews” for the support it has provided to the emerging leaders and their employers.

Take, for instance, this review of Denise Driscoll, VP Human Resources at Dominion Diagnostics in North Kingstown. Denise serves on our Board of Directors and is herself an outstanding mentor. Her mentee Heather Walker from Clean Rite R.I. says:

“Being a mentee gave me the opportunity to learn and problem solve with a perspective outside of my work environment. I realized that mentoring is not restricted by job description or field but that as we are all humans working with one another our interactions and even issues can be very similar no matter who we are or what we do. I’m very grateful for Denise taking the time to talk and think through problems and provide feedback on projects and presentations.”

Dave Dextraze of Mahr, Inc. has enjoyed the benefits of mentorship as well. In this video, you’ll hear his perspective and learn more about our philosophy and programs.

Are YOU interested in developing your mentorship skills? Can you help us develop the next generation of Rhode Island manufacturing leaders? Contact me  at or 401-595-4986.

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