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Alexandra Hoff and Craig Panner

Enlightening Perspectives: Views From the SSP Mentorship Program is designed to share personal stories from both mentors and mentees at the front lines of the SSP mentorship and fellowship programs to inform, inspire, and entertain.


Mentee Perspective

Alexandra Hoff (AH), Senior Editor, University of New Mexico Press

How has the mentorship program made a difference in your professional life?
Prior to the program, I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to go in my professional career. Craig listened to me carefully and helped me explore multiple career paths based on my general interests. He offered extremely useful advice about education, job searching, and the publishing industry as a whole. By the end of the program, I’d conducted a successful job search and accepted a new job that allowed me to move forward in my career.

What did you enjoy most about the program?
Being connected to a mentor with such a rich background and a supportive nature was the best. Our biweekly video calls were a welcome addition to my routine for the duration of the program. I loved learning more about publishing from someone with years of experience, and it was incredibly rewarding to develop a professional relationship with Craig, which we’ve maintained since the program ended.

Would you recommend the program to others? If yes, why?
I would absolutely recommend the program to others. There are so many professional development opportunities out there, from webinars to conferences to online classes, but there’s nothing quite like a connection with other individuals in your field. It gives you a more personal experience and a chance to ask questions in a one-on-one setting, no matter how specific or broad.

Do you have any advice for other mentors or mentees on how to have a successful mentorship relationship?
I recommend having patience and an open mind. Listen to one other and help guide the conversation where you want it to go. And remember, there are no stupid questions. The purpose of the program is to learn and connect with others in your industry, and with so many different types of scholarly publishing, you’re not expected to know everything. Find out what works for both of you and have fun with it


Mentor Perspective

Craig Panner (CP), Editor in Chief, Oxford University Press

Was there anything you learned as a mentor?
One of the exercises that we undertook was to look at various publishers who published in specific areas that my mentee was interested in. These were fields that I have never published in so undertaking this exercise broadened my overview of what many other houses are doing, and in what areas.

What did you enjoy most about the program?
I had a wonderful time learning about my mentee’s goals and what it was that she wanted to achieve. Sometimes, when we’ve been doing something for a long time, we lose track of goals and enthusiasm so, in a way, it helped reinforce my own love of publishing.

Would you recommend the program to others? If yes, why?
I would. You’re not always guaranteed that the mentor is right, or the relationship between the mentor and mentee will work out, but if nothing else, it gives you the opportunity to learn and grow and we should never give up on that opportunity.

Do you have any advice for other mentors or mentees on how to have a successful mentorship relationship?
As a mentor, we have to be open to new things: new areas to publish in, new functions within publishing, and new goals. If you expect to mentor someone to be like you, it won’t work.