SXSW 2012: 13 Things Superwomen Need to Know About Mentorship

Female power players in tech provide tips for mentorship and career success at SXSW Interactive

Founder of Tech by Superwomen Cathryn Posey and panelists explore the keys to fostering a successful and worthwhile mentorship experience (Image: Mary Pryor)

Mentorship powers the technology community, but networks in the IT community are often closed circles filled with white men. Cathryn Posey’s panel “Tech Superwomen: Mentors and Mentees, FTW” provided women (and men) with superb insight into the way networks are built and the strategies women need to adopt to move their careers forward.

“The inspiration for the panel comes from my blog Tech by Superwomen. As a woman transitioning my career to the next level [I asked myself] how do I connect women who inspire and motivate me, share the wealth, and expose that to a greater audience,” said Posey, a leader in interactive communications, marketing and brand management.  “Tech by Superwomen is about organizing women for mentors, allies, and inspiration. I want to attract community-minded people.”

Posey uses her blog and Twitter account to promote the importance of establishing a supportive community. Her own professional community includes a powerful group of movers and shakers: Margot Bloomstein, a content strategy consultant with Appropriate Inc.; Ekatrina Walter, a TEDx speaker and social media strategist at Intel;  Leslie Bradshaw, co-founder and chief operating officer for JESS3, and Nilofer Merchant, corporate board advisor for a NASDAQ-traded company, a Harvard Business Review writer and author of The New How.

Here are 13 tidbits of wisdom from the conversation:

  • Before entering into the mentorship process with someone, Bradshaw instructed the audience to draw a lifeline, noting both their successes and failures. Then reflecting and seeing who was important in their life during that time.
  • Once you reach a point in your career where you are the most senior person in your company, consider seeking paid professional mentorship, advises Bradshaw.
  • Don’t get yourself a hero, get yourself a champion, says Merchant. “Someone who will put their foot down and step up for you.”

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