Mentor and Mentee Renny DiPentima and Kay Kapoor Talk Relationship Building


Michelle Richards (AT&T) Renny DiPentima (SRA), Kay Kapoor (AT&T)

Last week AFCEA International unveiled plans for a new mentorship program titled The Mentoring Continuum. The group will have its first meeting October 2013. Kay Kapoor, President at AT&T Government Solutions, and Renny DiPentima, former President and CEO at SRA International (SRA), lead the kickoff luncheon at Maggiano’s in Tysons II to discuss the benefits of having mentors throughout a career and the importance of building a network of trusted relationships.

Renny DiPentima, was Kay Kapoor’s former Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland early on in her career. The two lost touch for a number of years, but have since reconnected and continue to have a strong relationship as mentor and mentee.

DiPentima provided the filled room with a few pieces of practical advice for those interested becoming mentors:

  1. Don’t give answers, give advice
  2. Be a mentor, not an advisor: being a mentor is a personal commitment
  3. Business is about people
    •  “My inventory went home with me every day,” DiPentima said, when discussing his time as CEO of SRA.

Kapoor provided tips for those interested in pursuing mentorship to include:

  1. Use mentorship to expand your network outside of your company and industry
  2. Choose a mentor who is “two levels up and one removed”
  3. If under pressure, always ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen?”
  4. Don’t ever think you are successful enough to not need a mentor

Michelle Richards, Director at AT&T, is a mentee of Kay Kapoor.

The panelists concluded that professional mentorship is a give and take process that requires ownership by both parties. The mentor and mentee connection is a practical and structured relationship that requires personal commitment and engagement.


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