The Value of Having a Mentor

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By Cheryl L. Hescher, BS, CRA, RT (R)(M)

January 2012—I was excited to learn that AHRA was initiating a mentorship program because of the many benefits a successful mentoring relationship can bring. I have 20 years of experience as a technologist with leadership responsibilities throughout my career; however, I have only been in the leadership role for the last three years. My educational background has equipped me with knowledge for administrative tasks, but my leadership skills will only be enhanced as I gain more experience. I chose to be a mentee within this program to gain invaluable insight from someone who has already experienced some of the challenges I will face as a leader. Not only will I benefit from my mentor’s insight, which is beyond my own education and experience, but I now have the foundation for a lasting professional arrangement.

My decision to apply as a mentee has been advantageous in many ways. I now have a mentor who can offer me support and advice. I have received encouragement and useful tips as I face some of my leadership challenges. With input from my mentor, I am more confident with decisions I need to make when dealing with sensitive issues. Being a leader is not always easy, and it is reassuring to know I have someone I can contact when I need an unbiased opinion. One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a leader is ensuring I am building high-quality partnerships while being perceived as a fair and impartial leader by all.

My choice in being a mentee with AHRA has encouraged me to improve my critical thinking skills. It is important to be able to have a confidential discussion with another individual who may have dealt with a similar situation in the past. I enjoy bouncing ideas off my mentor without accusation. As a mentee, I feel protected by my mentor while using my critical thinking skills and this allows me to be more creative as I attempt to improve them.

As my mentoring partnership enhances, I am hopeful to use the experience to have a more positive impact on my career advancement. Having monthly conversations with my mentor has facilitated me in building self-awareness, as well as being the start of a good support team. It is helpful to talk with my mentor about tough decisions I need to make and go through those critical topic points. Having my mentor’s input is beneficial in making diverse decisions. The mentor feedback assists me in avoiding inequitable judgments in hopes of building many high quality leader-member partnerships.

Leaders must wear multiple hats. Being a part of the AHRA mentor program will hopefully aid me in knowing when to wear the correct hat. The self-confidence and self-assurance I hope to gain by participating as a mentee can be used in my attempt at career advancement. I am passionate about being a good leader, and I want to empower others while sending clear messages without losing credibility. My decision to become a mentee will continue to prove to be beneficial. A successful leader influences others for the right reasons, and being a part of the mentor program allows for an atmosphere where I can add my views or obtain another person’s opinion without risk. I feel successful leadership involves constant critical thinking skills, and all leaders should continue to practice and develop these skills to enhance outcomes. Being a part of the AHRA mentor program will help me obtain these results.

Cheryl L. Hescher, BS, CRA, RT(R)(M) is the supervisor of CAT scan, diagnostic radiology, and support services at Methodist Hospitals, Inc. in Gary and Merrillville, IN. She can be reached at

Interested in becoming involved with AHRA’s mentor program? Here is an application how-to:

The goal of the AHRA Mentor Program is to bring members together for professional development by connecting those who have certain areas of expertise with those who are looking to broaden their skills and knowledge.  In order to create successful matches we need to know what you are looking for in a mentor, and conversely, what you can provide as a mentor.

The online application takes approximately 10-20 minutes to complete, depending on the level of detail provided.  The more details we have, the stronger the match we can make. Application tips:

  • Take a moment to reflect. What are the day-to-day challenges you encounter? Where could you use some guidance? Where do you excel?
  • General mentoring is very, well, general. Your needs and interests are unique to you! When selecting “general mentoring” be sure to take advantage of the text questions at the end.
  • Not everyone needs an expert. Sometimes you just need someone to bounce ideas off of.  That’s OK!

The goal of the program is the right mentor for every mentee. Additional information about the AHRA Mentor Program is available at

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