Navigating Through My Career with a Bit of Help: NACM Mentorship Program

When I joined the National Association for Court Management, I was impressed with the resources the organization had to offer. At the time, the Orange County Superior Court Family Law Division was going through changes in leadership. I felt I could use extra support and guidance from a court leader with an outside perspective. So, I decided to take advantage of NACM’s mentor program, which is a free resource for members. In retrospect, this was during the pandemic, and perhaps we all felt the need for a bit more support or guidance. I was a somewhat nervous about who my mentor was going to be and worried that my experience and rank would not be notable enough for the opportunity. My application to the mentor program was promptly acknowledged, and I was quickly connected with my mentor.  My mentor is Michelle Dunivan, a court leader in the state of Arizona. I instantly felt a connection with Michelle.  Michelle related to me in so many ways, even outside of our court roles as working professional mothers. She jumped in and helped me develop in areas that I was struggling in. We set goals for my professional career, and she provided me with excellent tips and suggestions. During our monthly meetings we touched base on my goals and on areas in which I needed improvement. I was so impressed by my mentor; she became someone I admire professionally and personally. My mentor helped me navigate through my challenges and guided me through a path of success. 

NACM’s mentorship program played a positive role in my leadership career. I recommend NACM’s mentor program for any court professional. I especially recommend it for early court career professionals who are seeking guidance and mentorship from a seasoned court leader.

Mentoring is a partnership between an experienced NACM member (the Mentor) and a NACM member in good standing (the Mentee) who desires additional professional knowledge, expertise, or guidance.  The partnership is based on trust, respect, confidentiality, and adherence to the NACM Model Code of Conduct for Court Professionals. Through mentoring, the Mentor will guide, support, answer questions, provide referrals, and share experiences and known opportunities with the Mentee. 

To sign up, visit


Cristina Prieto is former Courtroom Operations Supervisor,
Orange County Superior Court, California.