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4 Thoughtful Gifts for Your Mentee

Find the right present for anyone can be a challenge, but it can be even harder in a professional setting when your relationship isn’t entirely established, yet. Finding the right present for your mentee, for example, can be tricky, if you are still getting to know them and want to strike the right balance of personal without being too forward.

Luckily, there are plenty of options that will offer a meaningful impact and without placing a huge financial burden on you. Here a few suggestions to consider:

Homemade Goodies

You can never go wrong with homemade baked goods. After all, everyone needs to eat! A homemade treat means that you put time and effort into your present. If your mentee doesn’t get to go home very often, a homemade meal or dessert will be especially well-received. Of course, it might be easier to order something and have it delivered, but making something yourself just conveys that extra sense that you care.

A Shared Experience

Sure, you could give your mentee something wrapped up in a bow, but it’s also not a bad idea to give a present in the form of an experience. By spending time with your mentee, you’re showing you’re taking an active interest in their life and the things they enjoy. Something like attending a holiday concert or even just grabbing a cup of coffee is meaningful because you set aside time especially for them.

Volunteering

The holidays are the perfect time to give back to the community and instill those values in your mentee, and there will always be people who need help. Serve at a soup kitchen together, or maybe bake some cookies together and deliver them to someone who deserves to feel appreciated. Visit a nursing home and spend time with the seniors who live there and might not get to see their families very often. The holidays can be a lonely time if you’re on your own, and reminding your mentee to show kindness and compassion is a gift that will stay with them for years to come.

Send Them a Card

Lots of people send cards around the holidays, and if you do, why not send one to your mentee? It’s a kind way to show you were thinking of them, and could keep the door open for further communication even after you go your separate ways. It’s a great way to keep in touch and up-to-date on the happenings in their life.

 

Originally posted at AlvinHopeJohnson.net!

Popular Neighborhoods in Dallas, Part 2

Dallas is a big city, and with that size and extensive history comes a rich and diverse range of cultures. No one neighborhood in Dallas is alike, and chances are that you can find a spot that suits your personality and preferences. Here are some of the best neighborhoods to settle down in Dallas.

 

Casa Linda

 

One of Casa Linda’s biggest selling points is the sense of generational community the neighborhood offers. First established in 1939, many of the residents have been here for decades, and that multi-generational feeling extends to the design and architecture of the neighborhood as well. Vintage homes dominate the neighborhood, and their large lawns and towering trees evoke a time before developers began trying to pack as many houses together as possible. Casa Linda is also near White Rock Lake, making it an ideal choice for those with a passion for the great outdoors.

 

Hollywood Heights and Santa Monica

 

While Hollywood Heights and the adjoining region of Santa Monica may not be the most famous neighborhoods to bear those names, they’re well regarded as some of the best places to live in Dallas. The Tudor-style architecture that first found footing during its development in the 1920s has been preserved well, and there’s a real sense of community that’s reflected in the frequent festivals and events – both formal and informal. Lakewood Elementary services students in the district, and its high rating makes it an appealing prospect for young families looking to settle down.

 

The Park Cities

 

Despite consisting of two separate suburbs, Highland Park and University Park, these self-governed suburbs have become some of the most venerated areas to settle in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That self-governance combined with the high wealth of its residents means that community projects are well and generously funded. Combine this with an impressive school system and upscale dining and shopping experiences, and you have a neighborhood appealing to singles and families alike. A highlight is Highland Park Village, a town square that’s been designated a National Historic Landmark.

 

Glen Abbey

 

Chances are you won’t find a neighborhood more exclusive than Glen Abbey. First developed in the early 2000s, this gated community is home to roughly two dozen residents. Sequestered away among bright green hills, most would never imagine that it’s located conveniently in the heart of Dallas. The close proximity of Bent Tree Country Club provides opportunities to socialize without even having to get in your car, and White Rock Creek is right around the corner as well.

 

Kiestwood

 

The biggest and most obvious draw of Kiestwood is the presence of Kiest Park. Sprawling out over 248 acres, it’s one of the most striking and scenic stretches of greenery inside the Dallas city limits. The neighborhood consists of over 400 homes tucked away from the hustle and bustle of big city life, but that doesn’t mean that the greater Dallas area isn’t accessible. The Bishops Art District is right around the corner, and downtown Dallas is just a short commute away.

 

Originally posted at AlvinHopeJohnson.org

Mutual Mentoring: Everyone Can Teach and Learn

The sharing of business knowledge and skills is shifting away from the master-disciple paradigm toward mutual mentorship that transcends position, gender and age. Mutual mentoring provides each colleague space to share ideas and learn from others. Mutual mentors support and invest in each other, even if they are from different generations or industries.

 

Most business leaders and professionals aspire to grow and better themselves. This is evident by the proliferation of books, videos, and conferences dedicated to personal development. The increasing popularity of these educational resources demonstrates that more individuals are committing to career and personal growth. However, more meaningful learning occurs when people come together and share with each other instead of merely listening to a teacher.

 

What does mutual mentoring look like? It can happen with seemingly unlikely allies, and it can happen quite successfully. These examples show the powerful synergy of sharing.

 

Cross-Generation

With five generations in our current workforce, we have vast stores of wisdom within our networks and spheres of influence. A treasure trove of insights on career experiences waits to be mined. Unfortunately, the more mature professionals have not always had a clear opportunity to impart their knowledge to the younger generations, nor have the newer workers been given an opening to share technologically efficient advancements with their elders. That is changing, though, and proactive leaders are fostering cross-generational mentorships that benefit everyone.

 

Cross-Function

Experienced employees can give historical insight and context while new employees can offer fresh perspectives on an organization. When these two groups forge mutual mentorships, enhanced understanding and unity of purpose result. Mentors may work in completely different levels of responsibility or function yet be able to provide counsel on projects and company politics. These relationships can be safe havens to discuss challenges and failures as well.

 

Cross-Industry

Professionals from different fields can offer different perspectives on situations peculiar to an industry. They can also share insights on universal issues such as human resource challenges, communicating with difficult clients, vendors, or bosses, and negotiating contracts. Gathering counsel and feedback helps empower fellow mentors to stretch themselves into new arenas.

 

Cross-Friendships

Some mutual mentorships are more organic than official, based simply on friendship. Friends who are successful or advancing in their careers can glean much from each other to grow personally and professionally. Close friendships help create an ideal environment in which to learn, love, and enjoy the journey of personal and professional development.

 

Originally posted at AlvinHopeJohnson.net

Popular Neighborhoods in Houston, Part 2

​Houston, Texas has so much to offer as a city, and each neighborhood has its own vibe to experience. If you’re moving into the Houston area, consider checking out these affordable and convenient style communities:
Katy
The average home price for living in the Katy neighborhood in Houston is approximately $182,000 to $335,000. The deciding factor for a majority of people interested in living in this area is their family life. People often move here with their spouses or partners, and/or their children and extended family members. This area provides housing with enough space for multiple tenants and comfortable living with nearby parks and attractions. It lies in a small part of Houston that has a tightly knit community where neighbors can all rely on each other in their time of need.

The Heights
The average home price for living in this neighborhood is a bit more expensive, running anywhere from $445,000 to $449,000. The deciding factors for the residents in this area are being able to have a house with a yard and being in the loop with the rest of the community. You are able to have your own house and private lives for your family, but you won’t be left out of the events or community gatherings in the nearby city.

Montrose
The average home price for living in this neighborhood is $615,000. The deciding factors for the residents in this area are the urban and more open minded vibe that they receive from the community. New couples often move into this neighborhood to get a more modern experience and explore their surroundings to adjust to their new lives.

The Woodlands
The average home price for living in this neighborhood is from $489,000 to $756,000, which is higher than the other homes listed. The deciding factor for a majority of residents in this area is being able to seclude yourself while surrounding yourself with well-maintained nature and parks.


Tanglewood
The average home price for living in this neighborhood is $1.64 million. Although this may seem like a major investment, it’s within good reason! In this neighborhood, neighbors report that their deciding factor is being able to explore the surrounding amenities with friends and enjoying themselves.

 

 

Originally posted at AlvinHopeJohnson.org

Professional Development on a Budget

We all know that the professional development of staff is essential for the growth and well-being of an organization, but it often gets nixed because of the assumption that a substantial amount of time and money is necessary for ongoing training to be feasible. However, with a little creativity, you may find that you have all of the resources you need to continually develop your team without spending extra money and with minimal extra time.

 

Here are three low-cost, minimal time-commitment ideas to get you started thinking about a professional development program for your organization today.

 

Host a resource share

Resource shares are free, fun, and lighten the load of a professional development program by divvying out the work among all team member. To establish a regular resource share, you would set-up weekly or monthly gatherings and assign a team member to lead each meeting. On their turn, each team member brings a book, article, video, or something else that they’ve found to be informative or useful and present it to the group. This method has the added benefit of getting employees actively engaged in the process rather than simply being passive attendees.

 

Take advantage of in-house expertise

 

Most organizations have a plethora of experience under their own roofs. Poll your employees for special skills, passions, and professional experience and arrange for them to spread the wealth at a formal or informal organizational meeting. These presentations could take place in a boardroom or over coffee after work, depending on the topic.

 

Launch a mentor program

 

Help your new employees adapt and grow into their roles by pairing them up with senior staff through a mentor program. This program could could be as formal or informal as best suits your organization. For example, you could simply ask a more experienced team member to check-in with the new staff person regularly. Or you could formalize the mentorship by setting forth some guidelines for the mentor to follow (e.g., weekly meetings, occasional assessments, etc.).

 

There are many approaches to training and professional development for organizations that are short on resources. With a little creativity, you can create something that keeps your team growing and thriving for years to come.

 

There are many approaches to training and professional development for organizations that are short on resources. With a little creativity, you can create something that keeps your team growing and thriving for years to come.

 

Want to learn more about how to provide professional development to your team when you’re short on resources? Check out this article in the NonProfit Times.

 

Originally posted at AlvinHopeJohnson.com