The Statera Mentorship Program

Thank you for being a part of the Second Class of the Statera Mentorship Program. We can’t tell you how excited we are to have you onboard!

The Chicago Mentorship Team 

Regional Mentorship Coordinators: Minita Gandhi & Erika Haaland

Team Leaders: Dana Black, Kim Morris, Laura Rook,

Wendy Stark Prey & Lanise Antoine Shelley

Special thanks to Statera Foundation’s Executive Director Melinda Pfundstein Vaughn, Deputy Director Shelly Gaza, & Creative Director Sarah Greenman

The Statera Mentorship Program for Women in the Arts is at the core of Statera's mission - positive action for women in theatre. A flourishing mentor relationship helps both mentor and mentee organize their professional challenges, nurture their creative ideas and activate their personal gifts. Statera Foundation works to connect theatre women interested in moving beyond the very real obstacles that sometimes lie between our goals and our successes.

The Basics

Program Duration: November 15th 2017 - May 15th 2018

Minimum Expectation: Mentor & Mentee meeting/phone chat/rendezvous two hours/month

A few notes about the program moving forward:

Foundations of the Mentorship Program

Professionalism. This is a professional program. While natural bonds and friendships often develop organically through mentorship, this isn’t the primary goal for a successful Mentor/Mentee relationship. Treat each other with respect, show up on time, and be present for each other while communicating. Be sure to have a conversation about what your relationship boundaries are - this will vary between every Mentor and Mentee - i.e. your preferred method of contact, your schedule and prior commitments, etc.

Honesty. Let this be an opportunity to be direct about what is right for you in your career. Let it be a chance to share the challenges you are facing. This process is for both the Mentor and the Mentee. Neither of you will have all the answers, but there is much to learn from the experience of both parties. The only way to solve some of the challenges you face is to articulate them openly and honestly and be willing to hear what the other person has to say.

Support & Encouragement. While challenges exist, we can also choose to inspire each other by celebrating the ‘wins’ we have. Big or small, make sure to find a way to discuss and celebrate those as well. Ask each other what went well since the last meeting. Having someone to share and celebrate accomplishments is powerful.

The First Meeting

Talking points for the First Meeting - both Mentor and Mentee should be ready to discuss their answers to the following questions

  1. Why did you choose your desired field?
  2. How would you describe your relationship to the artistic community?
  3. What would your career (trajectory) look like if you had no limitations?
  4. What are the challenges you feel are holding you back?
  5. Why did you sign up for this Mentorship Program?

Take the time to discuss these questions and the others that will likely follow. Listen to each other and see what you have in common and what your differences are. This will help build a strong foundation for moving forward.

Before you end your First Meeting, please complete the following

  1. Clarifying skills or goals the Mentee would like to focus on. Together, establish three skills of goals to move forward with (i.e. auditions, text analysis, how to network, portfolio development). Choose specific areas that the Mentors can truly assist the Mentee with and outline basic ideas on how you will move forward on accomplishing these items.
  2. Set timeline. Determine a basic timeline for accomplishing the skills/goals you decide to work on (i.e. keeping an audition journal & going over it together the next meeting, keeping track of outreach etc…) Think about if the skills/goals are interlinked or if they are separate from each other. How does this affect your process?
  3. Set up next meeting. Make sure you have agreed upon a plan and tasks for the Mentee to accomplish before the next meeting and establish when your next meeting will take place. It is important to create deadlines as well as have meetings to look forward to.
  4. Contact us and let us know how it went. It is essential that the Mentorship process is successful for both Mentor and Mentee. Because this is a new program, we want to be available to you and know how things are going. After your first meeting, please contact your Team Leader and let them know how it went!

Meetings Over the Following Months

As you move forward with the Mentorship process, it is important that together you establish clear plans with tasks that assist the Mentee with achieving their goals. The Mentor should support the Mentee in following the established plan, providing feedback, and holding them accountable.

Be prepared to be flexible if things change. Take the time together to evaluate what works and what may need to be altered to affect positive change. Celebrate the success and evaluate the challenges.

If you find that you are faced with roadblocks in moving forward in your relationship/process or have questions about how to proceed, please feel free to reach out to our team for support. Email your Team Leader or mentorship@staterafoundation.org and we will be there to help. We will also be reaching out during the process to check in and see how things are going.

As the Mentorship Comes to a Close

When you enter the month of April, take the time to discuss together where you are.

When the Mentorship program ends in May, we will reach out to you with an anonymous survey for feedback on your individual process as well as your thoughts on the program. We welcome and want your feedback during the process as well as  we move forward to strengthen our professional relationships as women, artists and leaders.

Thank you so much for being a part of this exciting, empowering process!

Resource Guide

Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline: 1-888-293-2080

Rape Victims Advocates (RVA): www.rapevictimsadvocates.org

Suicide Prevention: 773-769-0202

Community Counseling Centers of Chicago: www.c4chicago.org

Planned Parenthood: 1-877-200-PPIL


A Note on Inclusion at Statera Foundation


We use an inclusive definition of women. “Women” includes anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies (either always or some of the time) as a woman. This also includes non-binary people.


Statera Foundation works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, ability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all.


Please take a look at this guide for any questions you have about pronoun use: https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/