Written by Sara Walters, Program Manager for Keep Texas Beautiful
Did you know that all Keep Texas Beautiful provisional and official affiliates have access to an Affiliate Mentor? KTB started the affiliate mentor program back in 2018 as a way to help meet the needs of the nearly 300 affiliates across the state. The program aims to provide guidance for new, struggling, or disengaged affiliates. Since the program began, we have added 11 mentors who have served more than 40 affiliates, and we are still going strong today! The program’s mentors have worked with communities to help them become KTB affiliates, revive and reenergize organizations, and helped new staff members transition into their roles with the affiliate.
Each month, KTB will be interviewing an affiliate mentor about their experience and highlighting their service to KTB in this blog series. Chris Lash, who has been with this program since the very beginning, is our second highlighted Mentor-of-the-Month!
Chris Lash is from McAllen, has been with the City of McAllen for 20 years, and has managed Keep McAllen Beautiful for 16 of those. She left KMB for four years to manage the Recycling Center, but decided KMB was truly her passion and went back. Chris’ areas of expertise are event planning, organizational abilities, coordinating, and managing.
When asked why she decided to become a mentor, Chris says, “I know what it was like when I first got started and how incredibly overwhelmed I was, especially when I would look at other cities and how much they were doing! This helped me decide I wanted to be a mentor so that I could share with new affiliates my experiences and things we have implemented to maybe help make their affiliate life easier.”
Chris meets often with her mentees. “There are some mentees that I have had that I initially would speak to 2-3 times per week. Then once they were comfortable, it became weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly until they were on their own.” Chris loves working with mentees as well as the 12 person affiliate mentor program.
Mentors meet quarterly to discuss their mentees and ask for extra guidance from their mentor peers. Chris’ recommendation that she gives to each mentee or mentor who is part of a nonprofit organization is to check out the “Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence”. This valuable resource is currently available on the affiliate-only portal, and Chris brags that she keeps a hard copy on her desk.
Join the Mentor Program
Are you interested in connecting with a more seasoned affiliate to help learn the ropes of KTB and get inspired with new ideas, or are you an affiliate who’s ready to pass along your knowledge to other up and coming affiliates? Each mentee is paired with a mentor for at least one year and reaches out to provide guidance at least four times. If being a mentee is something you’re interested in, please fill out this brief form so we can best match you with an appropriate mentor. Or if you would like to get started on becoming a mentor, please fill out this form or contact Sara Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.