Founder of Tech by Superwomen Cathryn Posey and panelists explore the keys to fostering a successful and worthwhile mentorship experience (Image: Mary Pryor)
Remember that a mentor is someone who contributes to your knowledge base, has faith in you, and is willing to connect you to their network,â€ says Walter. “Someone you can call up and they tell you, ‘You can do it. Put on your superwoman cape.’â€
“Don’t let geography separate you from an opportunity to be mentored,â€ says Bloomstein. Use Skype and other technology-based tools to get face time.
Be ready to receive tough love. You can be friends with a lot of smart people. But they won’t tell you what you need to do, says Walter. Posey agrees. Good mentors will tell you when to ttep up.
Ask yourself: “What would it look like if you were a leader?â€ says Merchant. “Who is going to be the one in your life to help you see yourself in the bigger framework of who you want to be?â€
Be disciplined and build a relationship with structure. Find a mentor that will assign you homework, identify touch points, and set goals, recommends Bradshaw. Put in the time or else you’ve wasted the relationship. “If I’m going to plug you into my network you better do your homework,â€ says Merchant.
“I’ve always found when being mentored that I’m also giving something back,â€ says Posey. Make sure you have a mutual benefit. Add incentives. Think why would they want to give a significant amount of their time and energy towards me. Consider a reverse mentorship, says Bradshaw. Â “[With my mentors] I bring to the table insights about technoloty that is second nature to me and they teach me about scalability and business.â€
Trick about mentoring: It’s all about the question you have in your head. What is it you want? Once you self-identify what it is you want, you can find countless people to help you solve that problem.
“A good mentor like a good therapist won’t impose their goals and values on you,â€ notes Bloomstein.
Research shows women network with people they already like. Men do strategic networking; they ask themselves who they should Â know, and then move to meet those individuals and mention why it is they show know them. Be intentional about your networking. Unfortunately, research shows most women are not.
If they aren’t taking you seriously, it’s their loss. Their network will be depleted; they will truncate their abilities and their own networking power.
Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise'ss Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online.