TechWomen Event at Juniper Networks

This evening I attended an event hosted by Techwomen at Juniper Networks in the Bay Area. Symantec has been a sponsor for Techwomen since 2011 when I was a technical mentor in the inaugural class of the program.

TechWomen is an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is managed by the Institute of International Education’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives. TechWomen empowers, connects, and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.

Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education gave some thoughts regarding the program followed by Lee A. Satterfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Subsequently, Sheila Casey from the US state department led a panel discussion comprising of 3 mentors and I mentee from Jordan who went back and started an online eCommerce company. It was exciting to hear their experiences with the program.

To learn more about Techwomen or get involved visit:
http://www.techwomen.org/get-involved/
For those in Mountain View, Techwomen is accepting Technical Mentor applications Through June 1. Cultural mentor applications are open from June 1 through August 1 via the website above.

Top 10 tips for effective mentoring

I started mentoring when I started my first job. Since I felt blessed, I made a commitment that I would always help in some way and give back. In the course of my career, I have had some awesome mentors who helped shape my life. I still exchange Christmas cards with my first manager and mentor from 20 years ago. She is such a powerful, fearless leader who taught me some lessons that I remember to this day.

Hence, it is never too early to start mentoring and giving back. You learn and grow from each mentoring experience. As you help someone with less experience in your area of expertise, you will also gain a fresh perspective. What can give you greater pleasure and joy than making an impact in someone’s life?
Here are some tips to assist you on your journey as a mentor.

10. Put the interests of your mentee above your own biases. Be committed to serve in the relationship. Be realistic in what you can provide and achieve.
9. Facilitate your mentee’s thinking process to find one’s own answers. Coach. Avoid being prescriptive. It encourages thoughtful analysis. There is greater ownership in results if one participates in the decisions made.
8. Be a good, empathic listener without judgment. In the words of Mark Goulston and John Ullmen “learn to listen into other people to discover what’s going on inside them. It’s listening on their terms, (not yours) to understand where people are coming from that establishes genuine rapport”.
7. Invest in being a SME (subject matter expert) in the area relevant so that you can direct your mentee to specific resources.
6. Point out your mentee’s opportunities for constructive development. Challenge and motivate. Be frank, and respectful.
5. Put yourself in the mentee’s shoes and experience their dilemma if there is one. It will foster being supportive.
4. Respect confidentiality. The mentee may share information in confidence that may be required for the mentorship. Share your story. It builds trust.
3. Prepare for each meeting/interaction. Each meeting should have a purpose, agenda and outcome that are tied to the overall objective and schedule. Track and celebrate progress.
2. Put a schedule for the learning experience. Plan the phases with outcomes, and metrics that can be measured.
1. A mentorship should have an objective, mission, and goals that are agreed upon at the beginning.

Reading References: Effective Mentoring by Dr. Norman H. Cohen
NCWIT: National Center for women in IT. http://www.ncwit.org

Dare 2B Digital Conference #d2bd13

Dare 2B Digital Conference – 2013

On 2/9/13, I had the privilege to present and participate in the Dare 2B Digital conference. The conference targeted middle and high school girls while encouraging them towards cool careers in Science and Technology. It aimed to inspire their inner entrepreneur to change the world. Workshops this year covered topics that included mobile applications, movie animation, eCommerce and digital communications. This year the conference was sold out. It was well attended by about 350 young women, 150 parents and 50 volunteers and mentors. A resounding success! Kudos to Ruth Stergiou, the CEO and founder of Dare 2B Digital (#d2bd13) for an amazing job.

#Symantec was a proud sponsor of this conference along with companies like Oracle, Google, Facebook, eBay, Mozilla, Netapp, Intel and others. I have had the privilege to speak for the past 3 years on a topic close to my heart. “Keeping Kids Safe online”. The session was for parents of middle and high school girls attending the conference. It touched upon issues like Cyber Bullying, phishing, as well as provided tips on protecting one’s identity, reputation, online especially on social networks.