Welcome to “Mentorship Monday”, where we will be featuring blog posts from our staff about their experiences with the Smithsonian Institution Mentorship program.This “Mentorship Monday” post was written by Bonnie Campbell Lilienfeld, Curator and Deputy Chair, Division of Home Life, National Museum of American History. Bonnie mentored Smithsonian Libraries’ technician, Rita O’Hara, who sadly passed away in December of 2013. The Smithsonian Institution Mentorship Program is an annual 9-month program dedicated to “developing leaders throughout the Institution” through professional development in the areas of networking, interpersonal skills, coaching, and institutional engagement.
I had the privilege of getting to know Rita O’Hara through the Smithsonian’s 2013 Mentoring Program. She was the first potential mentee I talked to, and we instantly hit it off. As part of the program, Rita and I met at least every couple of weeks, usually for lunch, to go over her goals for the program, and talk about work and life. I always looked forward to seeing her. She was one of the gentlest and most optimistic people I’ve ever met, and passionate about so many things.