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March 2, 2017

Training Volunteers to Mentor Small Business Executives

Susan Fort, Director of Learning, SCORE

SCORE provides business mentoring, to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and those interested in starting a small business. Experienced business people serve as the volunteer mentors. With over 10 thousand volunteers nationwide, onboarding and training is essential. As Director of Learning, Susan Fort develops and implements learning strategies to align volunteer mentors with SCORE’s mission.

SCORE’s training methodology is captured by the acronym “SLATE”, which stands for:

S – Stop and Suspend Judgment

L – Learn and Listen

A – Assess and Analyze

T – Test Ideas and Teach

E – Expectation Setting & Encourage the Dream

Based on feedback from their clients, Susan knows that volunteer mentors who understand and follow this methodology will be successful with their clients. The SLATE methodology is the foundation to onboarding and ensuring a consistent learning experience for all volunteers in all chapters.

SCORE’s success with volunteers actually begins before onboarding and training. It begins with attracting, engaging and selecting volunteers who are excited by the SCORE brand, mission, vision and values. Providing training and support for volunteer recruitment and selection is a new area for Susan.

To help decide on the best approaches to delivering learning, Susan has formed a Learning Advisory Council of SCORE volunteers to research and provide ideas. This input helps inform her strategy and increase participation in learning programs. In 2017, Susan is putting together SCORE’s first virtual conference for volunteers. The virtual conference will provide a great opportunity for training and networking.

SCORE has an ambitious goal to help 1 million clients by 2020. To accomplish that goal, they will need to continuously attract, onboard and train volunteers who know how to work with SCORE clients and contribute to their business success. To learn more, visit

Luke Kempski

By Luke Kempski, CEO

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