Senior Executives Association

Welcome to the Senior Executives Association

Senior Executives Association (SEA) is the professional association for career members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and equivalent positions. SEA is not only the voice of the SES through a strong advocacy program, it empowers senior leaders across government by providing the tools, resources and connections they need to succeed in the 21st century.

SEA's membership spans across government agencies, missions and functions, giving SEA a unique whole of government perspective and the ability to connect to the skills, tools and people (both public and private sectors) that senior leaders need. SEA members receive access to research and news, strategic networks, and connections to the good practices across government that they may not receive on the job.

Above all else, SEA is guided by dedication to public service and to helping career federal leaders better serve the American people.

SEA - Empowering Career Leaders For Success

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Mentoring Aspiring Leaders

Bob Corsi, SEA Board of Directors Secretary and former SES who served as the U.S. Air Force Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, shares his thoughts on mentorship and the importance of adapting the military model to develop the next generation of career executives. 

Whether active or passive mentoring is practiced in an organization, nothing is more important to aspiring leaders in their development. Becoming an SES brings with it a host of new responsibilities, not the least of which is to set the right example and understand the immense responsibility of grooming the next generation of leaders. Organization heads must take the time to communicate their expectations to new SESs, either directly or indirectly, regarding their new roles that go well beyond their specific job responsibilities. Clearly, new SESs can feel overwhelmed in their jobs…and that can be expected.

But mentoring should not be new to new SESs if the organization embraced its importance and relayed it as a necessary expectation in their careers leading to the SES. Most organizations have no policy at all when it comes to mentoring; others require, to their credit, that not only should new SESs find a mentor, but also require that the new SES becomes a mentor. Too many times, we hear that new SESs essentially become lost patrols with no safety net to help them navigate in their new leadership role. In these instances, they not only choose to not mentor, but also become less than ideal role models for their workforce.

Ideally, senior mentors should not be in the formal reporting chain for their mentees and should encourage aspiring leaders to seek mentors outside of their chain so they can obtain different perspectives on leadership development paths. Supervisors are a good source of advice on technical development, but, depending on agency dynamics may not have the knowledge or been exposed to any meaningful leadership development. If we don’t understand generational dynamics, we can easily lose promising leaders when they can’t see a path forward or feel stagnated based on lack of any agency leadership focus. Good mentors can help bridge the gap when agencies lack a development model and may be the only stop gap to prevent talent loss.



This article originally appeared as chapter 4.3 of "Building a 21st century SES," written by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).


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Tags: professional development, mentor

Our Corporate Advisory Council

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Special thanks to SEA's Corporate Advisory Council, helping to support a federal career executive corps of excellence.
Looking for SEA's partners? Check out the organizations we partner with.

Business Hours

The Senior Executives Association is
available eight hours a day during normal business hours.

Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm 
Weekend: Closed

Our Office Location

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