Women in Technology Conference—And Tips for Building a Mentor/Mentee Relationship
Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending The Colorado Technology Association’s Women in Technology Conference with a fantastic group of my colleagues. This annual event honors women across Colorado’s technology community, and this year, we enjoyed hearing a number of speakers discuss leadership, innovation, and opportunities in this industry.
In particular, one of the key themes was the importance of mentoring and sponsoring women in technology. Helping people reach their full potential and achieve their long-term goals is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my work, so I particularly enjoyed hearing what women in this industry are doing to help others grow their careers.
As someone who’s been both a mentor and a mentee, I’d thought I’d share a few tips that I’ve learned from my own experience.
Tips for Working with a Mentor
- Take the initiative. Mentors will make themselves available to you, but it’s your responsibility to set the meetings.
- Set goals for yourself. Each time you meet with your mentor, determine ahead of time what you want to get out of the meeting.
- Create an agenda for each of your meetings. Prepare your list of topics or questions to ask beforehand—don’t depend on your mentor to lead the discussion.
- Follow through. These meetings are most valuable when you work with your mentor to identify actionable items. Then be sure to follow up on them.
- Respect your mentor’s time. Mentors tend to be busy people, so remember that they’re taking valuable time out of their schedules to help you.
Tips for Working with a Mentee
- Prepare. Your mentees respectfully asked you to mentor them, so be prepared to offer wisdom, share your stories, and show your enthusiasm.
- Listen. Allow your mentees to talk. Then do what you can to share your insights, nurture their confidence, and provide support—based on their needs.
- Be honest. You want your mentees to get value out of the relationship, so don’t be afraid to describe mistakes you made, challenges you faced, or weaknesses you addressed. The more forthright you can be, the more trust you build.
Both roles offer amazing opportunities to learn, and the results are usually rewarding for both people. In my experience, the relationships that are built can be the most loyal and unshakeable partnerships.
And if you haven’t had a chance yet to attend the Women in Technology Conference, I highly encourage you to go next year. Here are a few of our photos from the event: