For International Women’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the importance of mentorship.
It is brilliant to see more and more women coming into the tech sector, but more can be done to guide female talent. Only 26% of the technology workforce is female.
As more women seek technology roles, we must give them the skills and support needed to transition, and thrive, in the sector. This is particularly important for those looking to move into the sector for the first time.
Last year at Faculty, we ran a very successful pilot mentorship programme and we’re excited to launch this again in a few months’ time.
We know that attracting women to the tech sector has to start early. We need to inspire girls early on in their education to be fascinated and curious about science and technology.
Nurturing a strong connection to the field will help propel girls to study and obtain relevant qualifications for careers in tech, like maths, physics, and computer science.
Beyond education, mentorship often plays a pivotal role in professional development – from helping women early in their careers, through to sharing wisdom with a seasoned pro.
Personally, I’ve benefited from numerous mentors throughout my professional journey. My mentors have, and still do, provide me with perspectives, practical knowledge, and experience, and also challenge my thought processes. This in turn inspires me to nurture other colleagues at earlier stages of their career.
There’re a few things I’ve learnt over the years that I feel contribute to a successful mentorship – in other words, where both mentor and mentee get a lot of value out of it.
• Keeping it informal but committed – There isn’t a formal template of how a mentorship should be, and it really is based on what works best for the mentor and mentees. However, it’s important that there are regular catch ups and that these do not slip from the diary! I typically book in all my mentorship meetings for a year.
• Consider how you could add value to your mentor – Like other important professional relationships, it is important that everyone gets value from the interaction. I was surprised to be told by one of my mentors that she found it useful hearing the challenges I experienced. It gave her new insights to her own work.
• Prepare before catching up with your mentor – We all know this but our busy lives often get the better of us and we forget to take time to reflect. To hack this, I used to walk to meet my mentors which gives me thinking and reflection time.
• The concept of mentorship thrives on collaboration, and I believe all of us are capable of learning from one another.
This International Women’s Day, I encourage everyone in a technology-based role – whether male or female – to extend a hand to new female entrants with the offer of being their mentor.