#BeBoldForChange – Mentoring to Make a Difference
International Women’s Day is just around the corner on March 8th and this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange. At Salesforce, our culture is built around the Hawaiian concept of Ohana, which means family. Ohana is the deep-seated support system we nurture inside our company that extends from our employees to our customers, our partners and our communities.
In this blog post we asked Francesca Bowen, from the ISV Business Development team about her personal #BeBoldForChange campaign which involves mentoring. We also chatted to her mentee, Fola about her experience.
Francesca – Why did you decide to become a mentor?
The underrepresentation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is very topical at the moment and we are increasingly seeing initiatives to reduce gender disparity. As a woman working in the STEM field, I felt that this was something I could and should contribute to, having been inspired into a career in technology by my own mentor.
How has the experience been?
Mentoring is an extremely rewarding experience. It’s wonderful to play a part in broadening a young person’s perception of the world and help them understand what they can achieve. Finishing education can be a daunting time as you decide what to do next. There are so many roles in business that many people don’t even know exist.
Tell us about the mentorship
Through the fantastic mentorship scheme run by STEMettes, I met Folashade (Fola). We started the mentorship by exploring what her values were in order to help define the person she wishes to grow into. The most effective mentoring can reveal truths about oneself they didn’t know. In this beginning phase I really learnt the importance of self-awareness.
Once Fola had a more defined mission, we started creating a plan. The key is to make the most of the time together as it’s surprising how much you can achieve. We set goals in all areas including personal development and wellbeing. Acting as a figure she could be accountable to meant that growth was consistent and something we could later reflect upon and measure.
Mentoring can also reveal a thing or two about the mentor. The experiences you have had act as advice for others. By pinpointing and framing these you are able to appreciate what you have overcome and the milestones that have been achieved. It’s an interesting and illuminating exercise and one that I would highly recommend.
Folashade – why is mentorship so important for young women?
STEM is a very male dominated profession which is why having a mentor is very beneficial for a young woman like myself. It helped me develop insights into what life is like for a woman who is succeeding in the STEM field. I was very glad when I was matched with Francesca as a mentor through the STEMettes Student to Stemette Programme.
How has the mentorship helped you reach your goals?
I gained a lot from having Francesca as a mentor. She had genuine interest in me and my success. My communication skills have definitely improved greatly since the start of the programme as I had to communicate my interests and goals to Francesca. This was not as easy as I thought it would be, but Francesca was able to give me good advice and tips on communicating effectively which really helped us to create goals and visions for our mentoring sessions. These tips have been really useful not only at networking events I have attended since, but also during my day-to-day at university.
Mentoring has also provided me with focus and with that came self-confidence; I now have more of an idea of what I want to do and the steps I need to take to get there.
Francesca has also been invaluable with helping me with my application for Postgraduate Studies as she went through a similar process. A postgraduate degree gives me something to work towards in the short term, contributing to my long term goals.
Learning from a different perspective has opened me up to more opportunities in STEM that I had not yet thought about or explored. Francesca has told me about different initiatives and interesting projects that she has personally been involved in or heard about and this has allowed me to go further and research what other opportunities are available to me. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated my mentoring experience and I would continually encourage other young women to sign up to mentoring programmes and I also look forward to becoming a mentor myself and helping someone else with their journey.
How will you #BeBoldForChange? Learn more at www.internationalwomensday.com
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