Last year I received this eMail:
Sus, I just had someone ask me today, “So, what’s your next step in who you are becoming?” Blogging about what I’m learning might possibly be in my near future — but I’m intimidated. What if I don’t really have much to say? Couldn’t someone else say it better? Does God really want me to speak up/out? All these questions barrage my mind as I think about taking next steps… So, I would love a mentor — short term and long term. This has been a heart cry of mine for awhile. What kind of info do you need from me to get that ball rolling?
Julie was writing because I had a little bit of mentoring set up for CSU2011. I’ve tried some different ideas on mentoring women in technology since then and would like to see this grow in Campus Crusade for Christ.
Yesterday, I read two excellent articles and wrote a summary from each one. I recommend reading the articles, and not just my summaries, if you have time. After that, I’d like to hear your thoughts on how to effectively mentor women in technology. (These articles can also apply to men and also for mentoring in areas other than in technology.)
In Women’s Ways of Mentoring, the author, Cheryl Dahle, points out:
Consider the problem. The way mentoring used to work, a senior male executive would annoint a younger version of himself as his protege. The operative assumption: Mentoring was all about chemistry between two people who had a lot in common. It was also about connections… Women have poured into the new world of work, and they’ve found they aren’t welcome in the old boys’ club of mentoring. They can’t rely on men to pick female proteges. They can’t depend on being able to socialize in the old style – on the golf course or over a cigar – to form personal bonds. So women have changed the rules. They’ve invented formal practices where none existed before, making mentoring more organized and focused.
“Wo-mentoring” is different from traditional mentoring based on common ties; women will mentor with opposites and with peers. Other characteristics of “wo-mentoring” are:
- focuses on personal growth and development
- everyone can learn from anyone, not just younger staff learning from older staff or “higher-ups”
- mentees can learn in groups and/or from several individual mentors, instead of just one-to-one
- proteges can pick their mentors
Ekaterina Walter of the Huffington Post listed advice for mentoring in The Role of Mentorship for Women in Technology. Here’s many of them (mostly verbatim):
- It’s totally acceptable to have a mutual benefit in a mentoring relationship that would help motivate both parties. You can trade your services or help each other in different ways.
- Mentees have to know what they want — that’s half the battle.
- Don’t make gender an issue, don’t take it personally. People hang out in familiar circles because of their common interests, that’s just how networks work.
- Ageism is often an issue professionally. So if you are a young woman, you can overcome it by sounding confident, being firm, looking others straight in the eye, and firmly shaking hands.
(I’ll include her specific description of what mentors do in the next post in this series.)
Have you been mentoring someone in technology? What do you think would work within Campus Crusade to see more women empowered with technology tools and skills that would help her in her ministry? Would you like to be a mentor?
- Read these articles.
- Read Part Two for specific tips on mentoring.