by Esther Barthel, CTP
Women in Technology Mentorship Program Update
On October 18th, 2016, we announced the start of the CUGC Women in Technology Mentorship Program, where the female CTP awardees joined forces to share their knowledge and experience about working in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field with their fellow female CUGC members. So we reached out to the women in the community and asked you to sign up as a mentee for our program.
Wow, what a reaction!
We were surprised by the enthusiastic reactions to the program and the motivations you put on your applications. And, I have to admit, we were also a bit overwhelmed by the total number of applications. Even though we realize female mentors and role models are sometimes hard to find in our technology-driven work field, we did not expect to get more applications than the slots we had available for our first class. But we did!
Putting the program into gear
With more reactions than anticipated, we quickly had to pick up the pace and make some tough decisions to start the program and work on its success.
By now, each and every application is processed and you have all received a response from us. Together with our mentors, we have selected our first class of mentees. And even though we couldn’t assign every applicant a mentor, we do encourage you to keep track of the program as we are planning to start a new class every six months and should open up for new applications in May 2017.
With a quick rundown of our kick-off adventure, that turned out to be a learning experience for the founding mentors of the program too, it is time to give focus on our mentees. So what is the mentorship program all about?
One of the biggest goals of our program is to create a safe environment where women can share their personal stories, seek advice and be cheered on as they set goals and work on their personal and technical growth. Each mentor is committed to help their mentees reach the personal goals they set out for the next six months, to cheer them on and share their knowledge, experience and personal stories.
And, as one of those mentors, I must say I really enjoy the bi-weekly meetings I have with my mentee. What starts as a planned meeting of an hour almost always turns into a two-hour (or longer) conversation that boosts both our spirit and energy. It is so cool to recognize the situations we encounter in our daily jobs, talk about ways we can help each other or just geek out on the latest Citrix technologies. Because I, as a mentor, learn just as much from my mentee as I am able to teach her. And after each conversation I find myself bouncing around with new energy to connect even more tech women together as I think we can all use an energy boost to find our own path in this STEM work field and focus on the fun of working with some really great technologies.
After all, girls just wanna have tech fun too!
And, I’m not the only excited mentor! My colleague, Jo Harder, has also been having a wonderful experience with her mentee. Their communications have largely occurred via e-mail where she and her mentee have shared goals and challenges, as well as ideas to rise above them. Work chaos and time zones have made it difficult but not insurmountable to connect via phone. In addition to finding that they have a number of common contacts, this “pen pal” mentorship has invigorated both the mentor and mentee.
More adventures to come!
If you feel like having your own adventure as a mentor, feel free to reach out and contact us. We would be very happy to welcome you to the program and be able to coach even more mentees.
And, to make sure that you will hear both sides of this story, we’ll ask our mentees to share some of their experiences with you in our next update. So stay tuned!