Shellhouse, J., Suarez, C., Benge, M., & Bunch, J. (2021). Mentoring mentality: Understanding the mentorship experiences of national FFA officers. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(1), 29-46.

National FFA officers are propelled into a very public position when elected to serve the organization.
With an expectation to serve as leaders, officers spend the year interacting with FFA members,
sponsors, legislatures, parents, teachers, and others. In order to perform in the highest capacity, they
often turn to mentors to guide them through personal and professional development. Little is currently
known about what makes mentorship effective for students who undergo an extensive, culminating
leadership development experience. This qualitative study examined the mentoring experiences of 12
past national FFA officers over the course of four life stages, beginning the year prior to election as
national officer and concluding at least two years following their year of service. Using a
phenomenological approach through a lens of mentor relationship theory and leader-member
exchange, a journey map was created to better understand how these individuals describe mentorship
and the quality of mentorship experienced over the course of the four life stages. Findings indicated
effective mentorship must have high affect and professional respect, with contribution and loyalty being
less important to the relationship. Implications exist for protégés, mentors, and leadership practitioners
who facilitate mentorship programs or have direct mentor-protégé relationships with college-aged

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