Staff Council Mentor Award


Throughout time, the term mentor has become synonymous with someone who is trusted, wise, and able to guide us through a period of growth in our lives. Mentors are an important part of personal and professional development. They are guides through times when people need someone that is able to point them in the right direction. They have "been there and done that." Mentorship is ongoing. It is a passion. In a lifetime, people often have many mentors.

Mentorship is like friendship.  It evolves over time and it's a two-way street.  A mentor always has time for you.  They learn as much as they teach.  It's a mentor-mentor relationship.  You have to seek them out.  You also need to keep in mind that mentor relationships aren't designed to last forever, and that's ok.  While your mentor will always be a valuable contact, it's important to know when the relationship has run its course.  You may outgrow your mentor as needs change over time.  While that mentor may have been amazing in one specific area, they may not be as knowledgeable in another.

Always remember to thank your mentor.  Let your mentor know you appreciate their advice and time.  A thank you goes a long way!!!!  Pay it forward...

Staff Council and the University of Pittsburgh foster and support mentorship. The Staff Mentor Award recognizes those staff members who place immense value on mentoring others. This award is given to a staff person who demonstrates this passion and excels as a mentor.

  • How to nominate: Submit your application HERE
  • Eligibility: Nominees are required to be benefits-eligible, part-time, or full-time professional employees at any of the University of Pittsburgh’s five campuses. Applicants must have been employed by the University for a minimum of one consecutive year; staff members on a performance improvement plan are ineligible.
  • Deadline:  MARCH 22, 2023!!!


2022 Winner- Derek McDonald

Photo of Derek McDonald - 2022 Mentor Award Winner

“I am extremely honored to receive this award and to be recognized by my peers as someone that can help them get the most out of their careers is humbling”

2020 Winner- LaShanda Lemmon-Mangham


LaShanda is a manager for the Robert Henderson Language Media Arts Center in the Linguistics Department. She also is a member of Pitt’s Staff Council.

“It is an honor to receive the 2020 Staff Council Mentor Award. It was an even greater honor to be nominated for this award. I am sure the committee had several qualified candidates to consider, so to be nominated because someone thinks that I am deserving of this award, is something I hold in high regard. I pride myself on helping others and it is a pleasure to be recognized for my community contributions. Being a mentor requires you to have mentors who have served before you. I have been blessed to have many great mentors both inside and out of the University of Pittsburgh, and I always look for ways to make sure that I give back. Again, I thank you for acknowledging my contributions and I look forward to continuing to serve the university community.”

Her nominator, Anthony Verardi said “LaShanda has been an indispensable friend, confidant, and mentor to me during my time at Pitt even though our jobs are not necessarily related. She has always been there to provide support when I have gone to her with issues in the workplace, pushed me to be my own advocate (but also run interference for me on the departmental and university levels when I was not comfortable doing so myself, and helped me navigate the convoluted hierarchy of our organizational chart. LaShanda is a model employee in terms of her commitment to participating in the university ecosystem and encourages everyone around her to get involved in whatever way they can. What separates LaShanda in my mind from other colleagues is that she does not seek mentorship roles as a form of CV boost or because she feels that she is OBLIGATED to, but rather because she sincerely cares about seeing her network thrive. She is a driven, motivated person in her own right and she unfailingly pushes others to make the most of the opportunities around them. Seeing how LaShanda acts and conducts herself within our organization motivates me to do the same.”

2019 Winner- Michael Arenth

"It was an honor to receive the 2019 Staff Council Mentor Award. More importantly, I am pleased that UPSC regularly highlights and promotes staff mentorship at Pitt. Over the course of my career at Pitt, I have been fortunate to have several superb mentors to guide and teach me. Some have been very deliberate with their mentoring while others just modeled professional work habits that I could easily emulate.  In every case, they improved my job performance, advanced my career, and enhanced my job satisfaction. Pitt’s overall success depends on many factors, but staff mentorship is certainly one of the key factors that drive that success. Many thanks to UPSC for raising awareness of the necessity of staff mentoring at Pitt."