Successfully Captaining Mentorship in a New Way

We attended The Women in Tech Regatta (WiT) in Vancouver from June 8 - 11th 2022. This event is designed to drive positive change and innovation for women in tech and workplace diversity. This blog explores Mentorship in a way. The industry has changed drastically and rapidly, it's time to rethink how we approach mentors and mentees.

More about the Regatta:

The Women in Tech Regatta (WiT) works to drive positive change and innovation for women in tech and workplace diversity. The sixth annual event took place in Seattle from June 1- 8th 2022 and in Vancouver from June 8 - 11th 2022.
This event is designed to give attendees access to mentors, peers, resources and the power of community.
The conference offers breakout sessions designed to educate, motivate, and stimulate forward movement and career growth opportunities for women in technology.



Captaining your own MentorSHIP — Supported by Hootsuite

Speaker Panel:

  1. Steve Eccles- CEO of Northeastern University
  2. Christine Dupuis- Sr. Director of Product, Hootsuite
  3. Yun Fan- Sr. Software Development Engineer, AWS
  4. Sommer Harris- Align Student, Northeastern University



I went into this session totally biased - in my mind, I’m thinking, “Mentorship? I graduated from university over a decade ago - this was an important concept for a student entering the workforce but I have no business in any mentorship agreements right now.” Honestly, I couldn’t have been more wrong, the panel discussion completely opened my eyes to the importance of mentorship no matter what stage of your career you’re in. Personally, I worked in hospitality for 10+ years and was managing a top-tier company yielding amazing relationships and results. I did experience severe burnout, followed by COVID, and wrapped that all up by changing careers to work in tech. How did I never consider approaching a mentor? Was my imposter syndrome so severe that I couldn’t even consider this as an opportunity?

Yes! A great takeaway from this session was to hear that leaders in their industry are incredibly complimented to be asked to mentor, and typically they want to share their knowledge with those willing to listen and absorb.

Throughout the session, another major concept was introduced: having your own personal Board of Directors. This means working with more than one mentor at a time for various purposes; work, growth, personal, etc. The benefits of this could be instrumental in building lasting relationships within your network; which ties into the theme of the entire Regatta: Relationships are the True Currency.

This made me consider the contacts I have from my previous life (career) and how reaching out to those people for industry-based discussions would be so fantastic. And how this could help me build the confidence to offer my own services as a mentor; even though I’m only two years into tech, I’m 12+ years into managing sales departments, growing revenues, and building start-ups from scratch.

The panel listed some great advice for having multiple mentorships be successful:

  • Go into the relationship knowing what you want to get out of it
  • Set your goals and track your progress
  • Be responsible, accountable, and organized with both of your time
  • Prepare questions in advance
  • Don’t forget to follow up with feedback and thank them; even if you didn’t take the advice

I quite like the last point - let your mentor know what advice you took, what worked, and what you decided against - this is a great learning experience for both of you!

CO-STORM!

The opening session of the Women in Tech Regatta was the CO-STORM! A Think Tank Designed To Be Your Personal Board of Directors For Life and Work — Supported by Slalom & Article; held at the headquarters of Article. I was incredibly lucky to be paired with Christin Wiedermann, Director of Quality Engineering at Slalom, as a mentor for the hour. We spoke about the challenges surrounding building software and the communication difficulties one must navigate with clients regarding this line of work. For me, a recent transplant from another industry AND someone starting a Sales & Marketing department in a new firm, this chat was invaluable.

My main takeaways from this discussion were simple, yet profound;

  1. What sets us (Acorn Interactive) apart from the competition?
  2. Do we want to be fast? cheap? or high-quality?
  3. Meet the competition and see where a possible referral system could work; it can’t hurt to ask
  4. Keep estimates and invoices incredibly high-level; getting into my typical level of detail could be causing me additional, and unnecessary, work
  5. What do we sell? Time.

The change of environment and getting out of the office to meet up with an industry professional was such a great experience. I really appreciated the open and honest communication with Christin and the valuable advice she passed along. Even though these ideas aren’t completely brand-new to me - it’s the concept of revisiting and discussing that helps me to move forward and create. And the opinion of an outsider, someone to just say, “What does your company want to become?” and for you to sit with that and think on it versus your typical everyday task-completion and problem-solving.

I took her points and brought them up in our internal weekly management meeting, we discussed the topics she brought up and I think the timing was perfect. I joined the company 2 years ago, we incorporated 1 year ago, we’ve been hitting major milestones ever since, and this was the perfect time to revisit these driving concepts. The team was unanimous in selecting to focus on high-quality products and services; which helps us as we begin an internal content audit on our own website.

Christin, if you read this, I loved meeting you, and thank you for your great advice!

Read more about Christin here:

Christin Wiedemann, Director Quality Engineering, Slalom

My strong drive and natural leadership abilities allow me to effectively and efficiently develop and implement strategic business plans that help position organizations as leaders in their fields. I quickly dissect complex problems, transforming them into manageable pieces. Driven by curiosity and a passion for exploring new topics and ideas, I use my creativity and innovativeness to act as a catalyst, facilitating organizational growth and performance.
I strive to be an inclusive leader that provides an environment that allows everyone to flourish, individually and collectively. By coaching and guiding people rather than giving directives, I empower people to define their own personal development journey, leaving room to learn from mistakes while providing continuous support and encouragement.