01 Oct 2015

Lighting the Path: NABT Trustee Assistant Mentoring Program

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cool-mom-picks-halloween-witchesIt can be a scary world out there – especially for those just starting their career in bankruptcy administration and restructuring with all of the different acronyms and local rules. Sometimes, all we need to alleviate our fears is guidance from someone who has been there and can light the path.

Earlier this year, the NABT introduced a new initiative: a Trustee Assistant Mentoring Program. This program is designed to assist Trustee Assistants (TAs) nationwide in their duties, and ease their fears as they venture into their career.

BMS would like to inform all of our clients about this new program as it embodies the same core principles that are the foundation of the training and support that we provide to you, our valued clients.

As of June, 2015, there were approximately 40 trustee assistants already signed up as mentors/mentees. The NABT anticipates that the program will continue to grow and the numbers will increase significantly by the end of the year (and beyond) as more Chapter 7 professionals learn about this program.

What is it?

The program is designed to pair up trustee assistants in the same UST Districts/BA Regions.  Experienced TAs volunteer to assist newer assistants in a variety of areas, such as questions involving local rules and practices, sharing of forms and pleadings, schedule reviews, asset administration, out-of-the-ordinary situations, and much more. Mentors do not provide any legal advice nor do they address software issues. (Your BMS Account Manager or the BMS Support Center is always available to answer any questions about the CaseLink software you use).

How Do I Know Whether to be a Mentor or Mentee?

The NABT recommends that all TAs with less than 2 years of experience sign up as a mentee. While some TAs with more than 2 years of experience may be ready to sign on as mentors, others may opt to be a mentee. If you have any questions about whether or not you are ready to be a mentor, the mentorship chair will be able to work with you to determine if you may be ready to become a mentor.

How Does It Work?

Once a TA signs up as a mentor or mentee, the mentorship chair works to pair him/her with the appropriate partner.  Depending on the region/district, this may take a day or possibly longer, but the matching is fairly quick.  The mentorship chair will be following up with mentors and mentees on a semi-annual basis to check on the process and to handle any issues or questions that may arise.

Who Can Participate?

Although the program is being initiated and supported by the TA Section of NABT, it is available to all trustee assistants in the U.S. You are not required to be a member of NABT to participate.  The NABT’s goal is to increase communication between trustee offices and to continue to improve upon the trustee assistant profession.

What Does it Cost?

It’s free! The only cost to you is your time. Taking time to help someone else as a mentor or taking time to help yourself as a mentee.

How Much Time Will it Take?

That is up to you.  Each mentor/mentee match should be structured between the two individuals.  You set the parameters.  In some instances, mentors and mentees speak or meet monthly to address issues, while others deal with things as they come and only communicate via email.  The setup should be set out at the beginning of the mentorship (although it may be subject to change as the relationship matures).  If any advice or guidance is needed, the mentorship chair would be able to assist.

What Else Do I Need to Consider:

Mentors/Mentees are strongly encouraged to discuss their participation in this program with their trustees before signing up.

How Do I Sign Up or Get More Info?

To get more information: Contact the NABT’s mentorship chair, Lori Grahl, at lori@rhwlawoffice.com.

To sign up: Complete the form below and your information will be passed onto Lori directly through the BMS website.

Lori Grahl has 30 years of experience as a trustee assistant, and has been an NABT Board Representative for the Trustee Assistants, as well as a regular speaker at conferences and seminars, and a mentor to many assistants across the country.  She is passionate about education, networking and professional development for trustee assistants.