We all know that mentorship can be an incredibly rewarding exercise for both parties, but how can you make the most of this experience when time is so often limited? I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring over twenty women and men during my career, many of whom have gone on to achieve fantastic goals. And so it was an easy ‘yes’ when everywoman asked me to chair a panel looking at mentorship, sponsorship and allyship with some of my mentees, giving practical tips on how to make the most of the experience.
The panel was for the newly launched everywoman in Tech Hub, a free online hub offering digital leadership and self-development programmes, role model stories and mentorship. I was joined by the lovely Jessica Brown, Programme Team Business Support at Shell Foundation, Hannah Metcalfe, Country Director in Tanzania for Viamo, and Olly Parsons, Director, Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation Fund.
I first started mentoring Jessica about 18 months ago at the GSMA, where I helped support her navigate entering the world of tech as a young, fierce Black woman, which can be challenging since the sector is overrepresented by white males. Now she’s instrumental in the recent formation of Shell Foundation’s diversity & inclusion working group. I met Hannah back in 2013 when she joined the GSMA, and helped mentor her throughout the years we worked together helping support her career development, firstly at the GSMA with promotion and later with providing references for her current role as Country Director at Viamo. Olly is a dear friend who I’ve supported and advised since we met in 2011 during our MSc course, Practising Sustainable Development with ICT4D. One of the best outcomes I find from mentoring and sponsoring people is the amazing relationships you build on that journey.
In the panel, we offer tips on how to find a mentor, what that relationship should look like and how to get the most out of it. And of course, why we should all pay that opportunity forward.
If you join the everywoman Tech Hub, you can watch the full panel here.