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WiBD’s Peer Group Mentoring Program Kick-off

By Erika Lunceford, Board member of WiBD Silicon Valley Chapter

Deborah Sgro, Independent Technology Career Coach, has designed and kicked off the Peer Group Mentoring Program for Women in Big Data.  This is an exciting program that we are working to scale during 2021 and 2022 to help people grow their careers.  In addition to kicking off the program, Deborah shared some very interesting information about career enrichment, the benefits of peer group mentoring and setting goals.

Post the meeting, we already have 16 women that have signed up to be part of the first cohort and will be part of the first team.  The first team is starting March 30th and will meet six times every other week, ending in June. Please sign up at Future Cohort Registration so that we can keep this program going. Please watch the video.

Career Enrichment

There are several ways for each of us to enrich our careers.  Many of these are offered by WiBD today.  Informal contact with peers and others, informational interviews, formal training and webinars and sponsorship.  WiBD allows people to meet one another and interview people on panels as well as having training and meetups for folks to participate.  WiBD is now focused on mentorship as another benefit to its members.

Peer Group Mentoring

Within mentoring, there are several ways to receive and deliver mentoring.  The one that most of us think of is one on one mentoring.  This is where one person is the mentor and the other is a mentee with a formalized time period and defined outcome(s).  Group mentoring is similar to one on one where there is one mentor and several mentees for a formalized time period and specific outcomes.  Peer mentoring is less formal and helps folks support and advance each other and may have less defined outcomes, such as Lean In groups, book clubs and study groups.  Facilitated peer mentoring combines the formalization of timeframe and defined goals in a peer mentoring setting.

WiBD is offering the facilitated peer mentoring.  It is similar to one on one mentoring in that it is formalized with a defined goal, provides direct feedback, a confidential and safe environment and experienced mentors to facilitate the activity.  The outcomes and participation are monitored and tracked in order to adjust for the mentees as well help the mentees stay accountable to themselves.  It has some added advantages over one on one mentoring because the participants are able to network, gain a wider perspective from one another, brainstorm to help each other and develop their empathy as they learn of others’ challenges.  There is less tailoring to the individual as the group needs are balanced with each person’s needs and it is a committed schedule for the group.

Choosing a Goal

The foundation for any of the formalized mentoring programs is the goal or outcome that is defined by the mentee. Super interesting discussion about choosing a goal to enrich your career.

For the program, each mentee (8-12 people) will need to choose a short term goal or get started on a longer term goal that they will continue after the program is completed.  Each participant will create a plan to reach the goal and discuss their goal, plan and progress as part of small group (3-4 people) activity.  They will receive support from their small group team mates as well as from the group as a whole.

The new insights are about the types of goals one can choose.  This applies to all of us as we continuously plan for our careers.  These are P.I.E. and C.A.K.E. Traditionally, the mentoring goals have been focused on the individual, or C.A.K.E.  These have been about their confidence (C) and being able to put themselves out there; their aptitude or attitude (A) about aspects of their career and technical skills; connections (K) to resources to help them in challenging areas; and encouragement (E) for them to reach opportunities they had previously not thought possible.

There is now another set of goals that Susan Colantuono is advocating as the “missing 33%”.  These are business acumen goals that allow one to grow their value for their firm or industry.  She is proposing that this type of development helps people progress faster in their careers because they are directly valuable to the business and speak the same language as the leaders.  Deborah had shared Susan’s TED talk prior to this session with me and it is great food for thought for everyone.  The P.I.E. goals are your firm or industry’s performance (P); your executive image (I) within that arena; and exposure (E) to the running of the business through opportunities, people and decisions being made.

Join us!

We are looking forward to this new program and thank Deborah for her time and thought to help all of us as we enrich our careers.  Please sign up for future cohorts and help us with this journey.  The program will help you select your goal, make progress on your goal and develop other skills alongside your teammates. Once you participate in a cohort, you may also want to become a facilitator for future groups.  In this way we can scale the program together.

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