by Esther Barthel, CTP, CUGC Women In Tech Lead Mentor
Our Women In Technology Mentorship Program has continued to grow and evolve over the past few years, and we’re proud of the mentees who have steadily worked on and achieved their professional development and technological goals throughout each mentorship class. After our webinar last spring with Eva Hélen, who spoke about the importance of breaking down gender bias in the workplace and in the mentorship process by adding men to the conversation, we realized that there may be a few men out there who’d like to participate as mentors in the program.
In that spirit, we’re excited to introduce three male mentors who have raised their hands to participate in our program as “mentors at large” – meaning they’ll step in to focus on specific goals set forth by the mentees. In addition to their skills, we also asked them about becoming involved in the mentoring program, and what being a mentor means to them.
So, without further ado…please welcome the newest members of our mentorship team:
Jim Moyle, CTP
Bio: Jim Moyle has been an infrastructure technologist with over two decades of passionate involvement in the IT industry. Over the last decade he has been a specialist in the Server Based Computing, application and desktop delivery sector. He has worked with many blue chip companies around the UK including being involved in the architecture and delivery of some of the largest Citrix deployments in Europe. As the Chief Technical Evangelist for FSLogix (now with Microsoft) he is responsible for the design and execution of many world class projects. He also enjoys speaking at various industry events such as E2EVC and Citrix Synergy and you can find him sharing knowledge on YouTube, twitter @jimmoyle and on GitHub.
Mentoring Focus: Presentation skills–Presenting to your peers, stepping up from customer presentations
What drew you to help out with the CUGC WIT program? I saw Eva Hélen speak (@ehelen), and she was inspiring about how it’s not just women who can support women in tech. I really wanted to get more involved. You can see her original program here: https://youtu.be/rwbH_ww41AA
What do you enjoy most about mentoring? It gives me an opportunity to reflect on my own skills and practices, as trying to teach skills inevitably exposes gaps in your own skill set that you didn’t realise were there. Mentees also bring a wealth of knowledge on topics not part of my core skill set, so the learning is always a two-way thing.
Mike Nelson, CTA
CUGC Content Working Group
Bio: Mike’s career in information technology spans more than three decades, involving a vast array of technologies and solutions. He has held roles in corporate management, architecture, and engineering to industry consulting which has provided him with a wide range of hands-on experience and solutions. He has been honored to receive the Microsoft MVP award, as well as being placed as a Microsoft Azure Advisor. He is also a Citrix Technology Advocate (CTA), and In addition, a VMware vExpert. Mike currently leads several user groups, including a Cloud user group and a VMware User Group (VMUG). Personally, Mike loves to mentor people interested in technology, and give presentations around the knowledge that he has and wants to share. He is always striving to learn more everyday.
Mentoring Focus: Becoming a community advocate and evangelist, which includes leveraging existing knowledge and always being open to obtaining new skills, being humble and tactful, building a personal brand, and overall people networking skills. I am also open to assisting with writing content, presentation building and speaking skills, and knowledge mentoring around all things cloud.
What drew you to help out with the CUGC WIT program? The global WIT organization is one that I have been involved with over the years and it is truly exciting to see the women leaders of the CUGC embed its values and mission into this incredible user group community. The willingness to support people, increase awareness, motivate, and share knowledge is not and should not be dependent on gender.
What do you enjoy about mentoring? In my journey through my career in technology, I have met some incredible people and have been blessed with gaining irreplaceable insights and knowledge from them. Much of this came from mentoring, in some form or another, and while it has made me a better person, it drives me to want others to be better as well. I think I can help them be better
The ancillary result of mentoring is that the mentor never stops learning just as much, if not more, than the mentee does.
Any additional thoughts you’d like to share? Sharing knowledge should have no boundaries between humans. I personally see no difference between the WiT program and any other that allows for the open and inclusive sharing of that knowledge. Also, knowledge is not what you learn, but rather what you cannot forget.
Neil Spellings, CTP
CUGC Steering Committee, UK CUGC Leader
Bio:Neil is a VDI, virtualisation & server-based computing consultant with over 20 years experience in the industry. He’s worked with Citrix products since the early days of Winframe and Metaframe and was instrumental in the initial deployments of these server-based computing technologies into a number of large financial institutions and the continued development and expansion of those into the enterprise environment. Neil was awarded CTP in 2013.
Mentoring Focus: CUGC leadership, working as an independent, presenting, CTA/CTP programmes
What drew you to help out with the CUGC WIT program? My interest in WIT started many years ago after I ran a CodeClub computer club in a local primary school, teaching primary school kids to code. Interestingly, there was a 60/40 split of boys to girls who turned up in their own time to learn how to code which I thought was wonderful to see, but made me think why the ratio is so much worse in the industry? Does our school system enforce the gender stereotypes and after we enter the jobs market we’re brainwashed by the education system to enter predictable and out-dated career paths resulting in the large gender imbalance we see today?
I’m also a STEM ambassador, so I volunteered to give a few talks at a local girls-only high school about my career path, and used several examples of prominent women in the technology field to try and combat the idea that IT is a male-only domain. I got involved with the CUGC program after a conversation with a few of the female CTPs last year (alcohol may have been involved) when I rather bravely asked them “So why are there no men in the WiT programme?” So as I seem to have set the ball rolling for the recent change to allow male mentors to volunteer for the WiT program, I thought I should really put my money where my mouth is and also volunteer as a mentor too.
What do you enjoy about mentoring? I think having someone who you can bounce ideas off, learn from, and receive encouragement from, can give you a much needed moral boost. Knowing there’s someone else out there who isn’t a colleague or close family who has your back. It doesn’t even have to be technical stuff…it can be encouragement for career advancement and promotion, getting into public speaking and presenting at events, running CUGC meetings or applying to the CTA and CTP programmes.
Being a mentor isn’t a one way street though; there are many benefits for the mentor too..we’re all learning, and I hope to learn a lot from the people I mentor too. We all have different skills and life experience, and being able to share that with others and benefit from their experiences too is a wonderful thing.
Additional thoughts? We live in uncertain times, with crazy political systems, presidents and prime ministers. If we can be decent human beings amidst all this chaos, help each other a little more, every little bit we do helps make the world a better place.