by Theresa Miller, CTP and CUGC Women in Tech Lead Mentor
Earlier this year, CUGC launched the Women in Technology Mentoring program, and our first “class” concludes in late September. As mentors, we weren’t really sure what we were getting into we reached out to the Citrix community to find other women looking for support in building their own successful careers in technology. Personally, I find the topic of mentoring interesting, because more and more, we are seeing organized mentorship groups on the whole, which opens doors that may not otherwise have been opened. That being said, finding someone whose voice you trust doesn’t have to be structured or part of any formal program. Anytime you talk with someone who provides valuable career advice is also a form of mentorship, whether you have one conversation or many over several years. Regardless of how you end up with a mentor, it’s important to find someone whose business and career guidance you trust. No one knows everything, but a healthy discussion will go a long way for career direction in the long run. Now, let’s discuss the CUGC Women in Tech (WIT) mentoring program.
We are just wrapping up our first pass at the CUGC WIT program that we started earlier this year. Overall, the mentee program came together successfully. Did we learn some things in the process? Sure, but all in all it went well. The thing that I love most is that we provided an opportunity to learn about what’s important to our mentees in their careers. Discussing their challenges and celebrating their successes. Some people feel that mentoring has to be an organized opportunity. While it can be, it doesn’t have to be. If you respect someone with great insights and who you feel you could learn from, reach out or have a conversation. Mentoring in this format is more organic, but can also have very powerful outcomes. Regardless of the approach you choose, the most important thing is that you are learning, growing, and evolving personally and professionally in an ongoing fashion.
I would like to next share some of our key accomplishments:
- Opened up a communication platform
- Helped our mentees with their online profiling
- Provided a learning opportunity for expansion of technical skills
- Inspired and encouraged personal and professional growth
- Met great women from around the world
- Opened a new door for our mentees to become mentors for other women pursuing careers in technology
Our Mentees and their Goals/Outcomes
Mentor for Jaana Monto, Finland
“Her goals were to decide what to work on next from a technology perspective. We had some healthy conversations around how to choose what to learn about in a way that was not overwhelming. She is just an all around great person, and completed her first AWS certification! Congratulations! She is also looking forward to helping out going forward with mentoring other women who are just getting started in their technology careers.”
Mentor for Kari Ludvigsen, Norway
“Her goals were to gain more technical knowledge on the Citrix product portfolio and to extend her network within the Citrix Community. We had great conversations, sharing our workfield experiences and helping Kari study for her CCA-V exam. A big thank you is in place to Citrix who sponsored Kari’s ticket for Citrix Synergy by offering her a seat at the Hot Topic Tables, where she got to lead technical discussions and meet a lot of the CUGC and Citrix Community members.”
Mentor for Rene Reighard, United States
“In the early days of my career, I knew that I wanted to be successful, but I didn’t quite know what that entailed. I had zeal and ambition but not a real direction. I was fortunate to have found some key people that took me under their wings and provided me with candid guidance and direction, and mentoring others is likewise a rewarding experience. Women in IT have a unique set of circumstances: we’re the minority in a predominantly male profession, and it can be difficult for women to exhibit the confidence and assertiveness of their male counterparts. As such, one of the goals of the CUGC Women in Tech mentoring program has been to raise the bar for other women–one at a time.
Frequent communication with my mentee has yielded invigorating discussions. From the time we started this mentorship period to the wrap-up, the key change is that my mentee increased her level of confidence. She was already technically astute, and it was clear that she developed more assertiveness over the course of several months. The next step for the CUGC Women in Tech mentorship program is for the first group of mentees to mentor a group of female college students that are embarking on studies focused on technology, while the CUGC mentors take on several new mentees. Lots of new challenges, and looking forward to rewarding new experiences as well.”
Next Steps & Call for Applications
As we wrap up this first phase of our mentoring program, we’re also getting ready to open the door to new mentees on October 15, 2017! We are always looking at new ways to provide opportunities to our mentees. Whether it be through training opportunities, IT community exposure, providing mentor opportunities and more. Our goal is to continually evaluate, expand and improve. We would also like to thank Citrix for their support with this program, and an extra special thanks to Stephanie Boozer for all of her extra work on this.
Our second class, beginning October 1st, 2017, will wrap up in May 2018, right around the time of Citrix Synergy. If you are interested in having a mentor, please fill out the application form by September 29, 2017. Or, if you are looking for a way to give back to the community and be a mentor, please send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be reviewing applications, and notifying the selected group before the end of September.