My Mentoring Experience: Questions, Answers, and Inspiration
As a regular mentor to the Ellevate Network community, I have come across some repeat questions by women mentees who a) have been in the industry, b) have just moved to NYC, c) are fresh graduates who have just started their new jobs, or d) have specific expertise and are at crossroads on making a change.
I have highlighted a few scenarios with some commentary that I hope will be valuable to those who could not make it for these monthly Ellevate mentoring sessions or had questions but did not ask.
1. Being New to the Area
In big cities, being new to the area always serves as a positive. Your newness will add a diversity of perspective as well as keep you motivated to explore your surroundings, learn about the city and what it can offer you for your growth and advancement. Always present that as a positive.
You exude confidence by highlighting your skills, credentials, and/or accomplishments. If you are meeting a new person at a networking event then highlight one or all of the above. By reflecting the confidence you are not being arrogant or fully self sufficient. After highlighting your key skills, you can drive the conversation towards your question or concern.
[Related: The Reciprocal Value of Mentorship]
In some scenarios, many young women were looking for that promotion that did not pan out or they asked but did not get it. If you are 5-10 years in your career, then do not let the promotion be the sole criteria to stay with a company or move on. If you are provided opportunities to get more training, secure new certifications, or invest in an executive program then take it. With so many changes happening in the technology realm, being able to invest in yourself while working full time is very beneficial for future growth. Always continue to add to your skill-set vs. expect a new title after every 6 months.
4. Technology vs. Business
In some cases, women technologists felt left out when, at their workplace, business strategy conversations took place and they were not invited to participate. On other occasions, the technologists did not feel comfortable with the context and conversation. I suggest sharing your interest in being part of the business conversations with your management team and other stakeholders. In order to be at such meetings, you have to offer some insights as well. Start reading business and technology publications to understand the landscape, competition, challenges and potential growth opportunities. Once you have the subject matter expertise, do write blogs on the use cases or success stories or lessons learned.
5. Sponsors, Allies, & Mentors
Regardless of who you find first, make sure you pick allies, sponsors and mentors both within the organization and outside. If you are relatively new to your company then make sure to have an internal sponsor who ensures your growth and advancement. Continue to push yourself out of your comfort zone to show promise. If you have just graduated and do not have any of the above, then read books / blogs / articles. If you see someone on Ellevate Network's roster who you would like to serve as your mentor, then reach out to them to check their availability and/or interest in helping you out. In case they do not have the bandwidth, ask them to recommend someone else.
I hope Ellevate members continue to avail the network's excellent forums to expand your network, learn and grow.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Cognizant Technology Solutions
Astute strategic leader distinguished for coalescing stakeholders and teams into performance cultures where vision and outcomes converge. Background in technology and consulting firms includes roles leading global pre-sales, professional services and consultative solutions teams that achieved $10 - $12 million of annual revenue targets. Built and led new divisions, and advised clients on technology / operational alignment to keep pace with an evolving business landscape. Functional Experience: Solutions Strategy, Engagement Modeling, Organizational Structure, Operational Models, Process... Continue Reading
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