The last blog of the year ought to be something special. I may be tempted to write something between now and the new year but this must be my last official piece. What better subject to finish on then other than the work to try and get more women into the tech industry, something that has never been far away from my thoughts over the last twelve months?
The Executive Programme for Women Leaders in ICT has finally got underway thanks to my colleagues in the North East ICT Managers group, Dynamo and Northumbria University. I have been asked to get involved in mentoring a couple of the participants and I am delighted that I can be of help.
According to the blurb: The programme is designed specifically for today’s women leaders and those who aspire to senior leadership roles, recognising the particular challenges of working in a male dominated profession such as IT. Given that the nature of IT is changing from a focus on infrastructure to a more transformational and integrated business role, women leaders have an opportunity to capitalise on their traditional strengths. The programme offers an opportunity for women to gain greater self-understanding and confidence in their own abilities and leadership, and to return to their organisations as ambassadors and role models for other women leaders.
We have had our first sessions.
Now, I don’t proclaim to be a great mentor or coach. I’m not sure I am always the best of listeners either yet this has been a great opportunity for me to polish off those skills. I did have some training from Dawn some time ago and mentoring is as much a learning experience for the mentor as well as the recipient.
We started off by getting to know each other a little better and then talked about some of the things that they got up to in a work context. I ended up asking a lot of questions especially about those things that I didn’t quite understand or where I felt that they were perhaps underselling themselves. I didn’t want to give any answers but we did occasionally stray into some of the things I had done in similar circumstances.
What struck me most of all though was that I was meeting with two very different yet highly capable and confident people, though somehow they felt as if they were less capable than their, mainly male, colleagues.
They were two great hours and I hope that I have been of some use. I’m looking forward to meeting up again with them both in the new year, just as I am with you.