Mentorship Program

MNSFA Mentor Program

The purpose of the MNSFA Mentor Program is to assist floral professionals who are new to the industry adjust quickly to the unique challenges of the floral industry by pairing them with an individual who has substantial experience in the industry.


Mentors: Are current or past owners or managers of well-established, successful retail flower shops with a significant amount of experience in the industry, and are willing to share basic principles that can help lead their Mentee to success.

Mentees: Should be MNSFA members who are relatively new to the industry, or new to a particular role in the industry, and should be eager to learn and willing to implement new ideas gleaned from their Mentor.

Each Mentee are paired with a Mentor whose store is located in a different geographic market so that compromising information is not shared among direct competitors.  Contact information is shared between the Mentor and the Mentee by the director of the mentor program.

It is advisable, but not necessary, for the Mentor and Mentee to meet face to face at some point in the relationship.  The depth of the information shared by the Mentor with respect to sales, profits and other sensitive information will be at the sole discretion of the Mentor, but the MNSFA board of directors encourages participants that the more information that is shared, the more both parties can benefit from the relationship.  Each Mentor/Mentee relationship will initially last 1 year, at which time the relationship will be evaluated by the director of the mentor program as to whether the relationship should continue or the participants should be reassigned.

Individuals who are interested in participating in this program should contact the Director of the Mentor Program; Derek Zschokke @ 651-457-2500 and fill out and fax application to 612-724-6693


  • Assist floral professionals who are new to the industry adjust quickly to the unique challenges of the floral industry by pairing them with an individual who has substantial experience in the industry.
  • To build a relationship of mutual trust and respect with a respected floral professional who will help the intereested person succeed.


  • Make a necessary one-year commitment for the program to be a success;
  • Meet for at least one hour every other week for 12 months;
  • Complete an application.


  • A desire to work with an floral professional
  • A knowledge or desire to learn the floral industry;
  • Be able to fulfill the program requirements; and
  • Want to have fun.

Time Commitment

  • At least one hour every other week for 12 months (Pairs can work with each other’s schedules)
  • Respect the mentor’s time constraints with holidays and daily activities.
  • Plan to meet at least once before program commitment ends


  • Placement will be left to the discretion of the Mentor Program Director.


  • To build a generation of qualified successful florists and insure a prosperous and vital floral industry in the state of Minnesota.


  • Personal commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time — generally, one year at minimum. Mentors have a genuine desire to be part of other people’s lives, to help them with tough decisions and to see them become the best they can be. They have to be invested in the mentoring relationship over the long haul to be there long enough to make a difference.
  • Respect for individuals and for their abilities and their right to make their own choices in life. Mentors should not approach the mentee with the attitude that their own ways are better or that participants need to be rescued. Mentors who convey a sense of respect and equal dignity in the relationship win the trust of their mentees and the privilege of being advisors to them.
  • Ability to listen and to accept different points of view. Most people can find someone who will give advice or express opinions. It’s much harder to find someone who will suspend his or her own judgment and really listen. Mentors often help simply by listening, asking thoughtful questions and giving mentees an opportunity to explore their own thoughts with a minimum of interference. When people feel accepted, they are more likely to ask for and respond to good ideas.
  • Ability to empathize with another person’s struggles. Effective mentors can feel with people without feeling pity for them. Even without having had the same life experiences, they can empathize with their mentee’s feelings and personal problems.
  • Ability to see solutions and opportunities as well as barriers. Effective mentors balance a realistic respect for the real and serious problems faced by their mentees with optimism about finding equally realistic solutions. They are able to make sense of a seeming jumble of issues and point out sensible alternatives.
  • Flexibility and openness. Effective mentors recognize that relationships take time to develop and that communication is a two-way street. They are willing to take time to get to know their mentees, to learn new things that are important to their mentees (music, styles, philosophies, etc.), and even to be changed by their relationship.