FORT LEE, Va. - Two Defense Contract Management Agency employees were recognized for mentoring at the 12th Annual DCMA Employee Recognition Program Awards ceremony at Fort Lee, Va., headquarters Sept. 19.
Luis Barrera, supervisory financial analyst; and Alberto Serrano-Torres, administrative contracting officer, received the awards for sharing their knowledge and experiences about multiple situations, including those dealing with leadership and organization. These contributions helped develop employee competence and confidence.
According to the award citation, Barrera’s “patience, guidance, leadership, punctuality and his continuous desire to pass along his lessons learned has made him a mentor to all he comes in contact with.” Barrera, who works at the Cost and Pricing Center San Antonio, said he has mentored many team members in his thirty-plus years of service.
“Some of the people I’ve mentored are now in management positions and have become mentors themselves,” he explained. “To me, that’s rewarding.”
Serrano-Torres, who works at the DCMA Aircraft Integrated Maintenance Operations in Crestview, Fla., said he provided Keystones and others with the direction and tools necessary to be productive and successful in their roles within DCMA.
“It’s quite an honor to have received this award,” he said. “I believe mentoring is a team effort and everyone’s responsibility at DCMA. It’s important to help us transition — bring the new people in, guide them and provide them with what they need to be successful.”
George P. Braxton, DCMA’s special advisor for Diversity and Inclusion, said it’s important for employees to receive this type of recognition because an agency shows what’s important by what it recognizes.
“Recognition for assisting in the advancement of the careers of others while transferring important knowledge to a new generation in the workforce is critical to the future of DCMA’s mission,” he explained.
Mentoring is a major initiative for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which recently published the agency’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan that includes the sustainment goal of developing, mentoring and retaining top talent from across the total force. Braxton said sustainment and mentoring go hand-in-hand because nearly 50 percent of our workforce is retirement eligible, and an ever increasing number of those who are not eligible are in the early stages of their DCMA careers.
“Mentoring promotes a steeper learning curve for those newer employees and allows them to move from surviving to contributing and ultimately thriving in a shorter amount of time,” he said.
For new employees to thrive, though, Braxton said mentors must understand the motivations of these mentees. They’re typically digital natives who chose to join the agency for very different reasons than their mentors did.
“The mentees’ reasons are just as legitimate as the mentors’ and will shape how they perceive things. Mentors should be patient and be prepared to teach, but also be prepared to learn. "