NEA taking the past into the future


The NEA Mentoring Program offers members the opportunity to participate in Mentoring Circles, which are small groups that typically consist of four to six mentees and two co-mentors. Diverging from the traditional one-on-one mentoring model, the circle model fosters not only mentoring relationships between the mentors and the mentees, but also peer mentoring relationships among the mentees and between the co-mentors.

Mentoring Circles aim to: 

  • Encourage the exchange of experiences, challenges, and opportunities to facilitate goal-setting for career and personal development,
  • Build competencies and character to reach those goals, and
  • Foster self-confidence, communication skills, and collective growth.


The NEA mentoring program is open to members of NEA in good standing. Individuals who are studying to be archivists, are currently early career archivists or history professionals, are re-entering the workforce after a long absence, are considering changing careers, or are otherwise working with historical materials as paid staff or volunteers are encouraged to participate as mentees. Mid and late career professionals and paraprofessionals are encouraged to participate as mentors. A diverse array of experiences and backgrounds are desired, such as experienced lone arrangers, processing archivists, individuals working at rural institutions, or multiple institutions. Regardless of employment, in or outside the archival profession, all NEA members with an interest in archiving will be welcome.


2023 Mentor Application

2023 Mentee Application

*The application period for 2024 is now open until November 15, 2023.*

Applications will be accepted through Nov 1, 2023, and applicants will receive further information by December 1, 2023 and should expect to begin meeting in January of 2024. The program timeline is seven to nine months. Depending on the aim and needs of the circle, it may meet more or less frequently. All meetings will be virtual this year to prioritize safety, to ensure meetings are convenient to attend, and to encourage broad participation across all of New England.

A call for mentors and mentees is typically announced each fall on the NEA website and NEA-Discuss listserv. Mid-career and senior-level professionals are encouraged to participate as mentors; ideally, co-mentors will bring different levels of experience and perspectives to their circle. Mentors and mentees are matched to a circle depending on their interests, goals, and availability. The application process includes an initial survey that will help determine applicant's interests and support the initial matching.


Mentoring Circles meet for 1-2 hours once per month for the length of the program, or more or less frequently depending on the aim and needs of the circle. Meetings will be virtual this year. Each Mentoring Circle's conversations will vary based on the group's dynamic, but the focus should be on career growth, facing challenges, and solving problems. All participants should be willing to give and get professional and personal support from the other members of the circle. The group provides accountability to each other and should be a confidential environment. Mentors will help guide and promote productive discussions in the circle to ensure all members of the group have an opportunity to participate. Mentees will come prepared to contribute as much as they hope to gain from the circles, with the understanding that mentoring is a self-directed process.

Additional information about the program, including more details about expectations for mentors and mentees, can be found in the  NEA Mentoring Program Guidelines.

If you have questions or concerns about whether participating in the program is right for you, or have feedback, please contact NEA's Mentoring Program Administrator Jen Hale, by emailing

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