Women in Tech: The Value of Mentorship

Established in 2008, the Women in Technology (WIT) initiative educates and inspires collaboration for all women in the tech field so they can reach their full potential. We provide continuing education, mentorship, and community to promote professional and personal growth. As women are still under-represented in the technology industry, the WIT initiative is intended to assist women through their technology journey. We strive to create an inclusive and non-judgmental environment that allows for introspection and growth. One of the primary activities is the WIT Mentor Program; intended to connect women to create a mutually beneficial relationship geared toward professional and leadership development. The mentor program runs twice a year; a Fall Cohort, from October – January and a Spring Cohort, from February – May. The program has served over 300 women since it’s inception in 2012. Michelle Pope, a mentor from CompuClaim states: “I have gone through 3 programs to date and have found that with each individual, the connection and experience is different on both side. I find it extremely gratifying to see things from their (mentee’s) perspective and to help to provide another perspective or give examples through personal experiences.”

The mentor program matches experienced and up-and-coming professional women to share best practices, answer questions, offer advice, and provide support in the tech industry. “The Tech Collective does a great job in matching the skills of the mentor to the skills and the needs of the mentee and vice versa.” Pope adds. Mentors work with mentees on a wide variety of soft and hard skills such as strategy development, negotiation, career direction, professional networking and communication. Kim Cournoyer from OSHEAN shares, ” I worked with my mentee on goal setting, looking outside the role for opportunities to grow in the company, what to discuss during an annual review, resume and interview skills.” Many mentors meet regularly with their mentee for coffee, lunch, attends networking events or holds virtual meetings.

“I wish I had a mentor when I was new in my career. It is a great feeling to provide support, friendship and to watch the mentee grow.” states Cournoyer. She continues to add that “I grow so much from the relationship, it is very fulfilling and I learn a lot from my mentees. I think it is very important to support women in their career goals, to share experience and perspective and to listen to the challenges and celebrate the successes.”

In addition to mentor and mentee meet-ups; Tech Collective offers three educational events per year to support these relationships, build community and increase individual skill sets such as Confidence Building, How to Engage Men as Allies, Self-Care in the Workplace, Relationship Building, How to Negotiate, and The Practice of Making Clear Choices. The next in our WIT offerings is our successful D.E.L.T.A series. D.E.L.T.A. which stands for Developing Emerging Leaders in Tech to Advance, is a four-part series providing a wide range of learning opportunities that focus on four key areas of communication, competency, credibility and connections. The assessment, interactive discussions, skill-building work and guest presentations from IT leaders help participants strengthen new leadership competencies, develop confident communications and strategies to ease the challenges when transitioning into leadership roles.

Tech Collective is now accepting applications for mentors and mentees.  New mentors and mentees must attend one of two info sessions on either August 28th at 8:30 am or September 11th at 5:30 pm. For more information or to apply, please contact Program Manager, Amanda Roman at amanda.roman@tech-collective.org.