Bonni M. Crisfulli is the senior project manager, program leader, and owner of Innovative Business Solutions. Through the mentoring program offered by the Department of Technical Communication at UNT, any student in the department has the chance to be matched with Crisfulli or someone with a similar level of experience to be his or her own personal mentor.
The connections made through a mentoring program are invaluable, providing experience and insight into a relatively new industry that cannot be replicated solely through class work. Crisfulli, who completed the majority of her bachelor's degree at the UNT School of Business, has been in the industry for over 10 years and is now able to offer a wealth of experience to any students who are newly entering the workforce.
A Conversation with Mrs. Crisfulli
Mrs. Crisfulli very generously agreed to answer a few questions about the program so that students interested in the program could get to know the type of person they would have a chance of connecting with.
1. How did you hear about and get involved with the Mentor Program for the Technical Communication Department at UNT?
Actually, in the spring of this year, I had participated as a mentor in the Technical Writer's Showcase event that was held by the department. Laurel Beason, one of the facilitators of the event had reached out and inquired if I would be interested in offering my time and talents. As the showcase was a success, I further offered to participate in the future should the need for further mentoring arise. Oren Bruton from the department had reached out to me at the onset of the fall semester to inquire if I would be interested in engaging in one-on-one mentoring sessions with a mentee from the program throughout the semester. Having a passion for mentoring, I happily agreed.
2. From the perspective of a mentor, what would you say are the benefits of joining such a program?
There is a great personal satisfaction that one receives when one is placed in a situation which allows that person the opportunity to help grow others as professionals and to be a guide for them in their career success. Further, there is a great learning curve that the mentor can experience in working with the mentee, development that will further the mentor in his or her own career growth. The mutual benefit for both the mentor and the mentee is substantial and often extends beyond the scope of such programs into the future.
3. How long have you been in the industry and what is your job title right now?
I have been in the IT and the consulting industry for over 10 years. My current title is owner/senior project manager.
4. What is a day at work like for you? How different is what you do now compared to what it was like when you first joined the industry?
My day consists of a substantial amount of planning, risk identification and mitigation, communication, multitasking and stakeholder relationship management. As each day is dynamic in nature, I need to be flexible to adapt to those changes.
Over the years, I have seen both the tech and consulting industries become more relaxed in the adoption of new processes and methodologies to better serve client needs. What was once a rigid environment that followed strict models and roadmaps, the current landscape has evolved into one which is more accepting and adaptive of both hybrid and new processes and methodologies. Further, although slow in realization, there has been a steady growth in diversity and inclusion in both industries, which has been hopeful for many who would not otherwise have opportunities under the older culture.
5. What is the one thing you would tell someone who is currently studying to be a technical communicator?
I would definitely say that critical thinking skills, detailed thought processes, knowing your audience and listening skills are key to being a successful communicator in the technical industry. One important and valuable concept I had learned years ago in communication is that the most important message is the one received.
Additional Information and How to Sign Up
The tech comm mentorship program is a relatively recent addition to the ever-growing list of opportunities and experiences offered by the UNT Technical Communication Department, first being announced through the department Facebook page on October 12, 2018. Interested students can fill out the survey at https://bit.ly/2QJriJE.
Candidates are selected by Mr. Oren Burton, Director of Corporate Relations, and given the contact information for one of the preselected mentors. The mentor will be an established veteran in the field of technical communication. The student then takes the initiative to connect with their mentor by sending an introductory email and adding them on LinkedIn to begin discussing goals and careers.
The program is well worth the time and effort. If it sounds like something interesting to you, click on the survey link. You may be the next person selected to be mentored by a professional.