Publication Date

Summer 2017

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Jane Hudak, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Stephen Wagner, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dorothea Fitzgerald, Ed.D.


Mentoring may encourage leadership development in Generation X women who wish to gain leadership positions in nonprofit sector organizations or school administrations. However, cultural values and female natural tendencies may form a glass ceiling for females seeking leadership roles. This qualitative study asked 11 women about their experiences in mentoring programs to determine if what elements are necessary for mentoring programs to help female Generation Xers be successful. Participants were mentored by females in one of two programs: the Chicago Women in Philanthropy (CWIP) Women’s Leadership Mentoring Program (WLMP) or the Metropolitan Institute for Leadership in Education (MILE) Principal Mentor Program. Within interviews, discussion occurred regarding beneficial elements that may help women advance toward their definition of success. Beneficial elements include: an emphasis on supporting mentees, mentors considering one-on-one mentoring in conjunction with observations and role playing, and networking with other mentors. Mentoring program administrators may consider intense training about work–life balance, as well as power and office politics. Generation Xers’ upbringing caused them to learn best by active learning, rather than formal classroom lectures and instruction. Therefore, Generation X females like experiential learning opportunities within mentoring programs. By implementing beneficial mentoring program elements, mentees may reach their desired success; whether that includes objective career success, or subjective career success in relationships, happiness, helping others, and enjoying meaningful work.