Volunteering with the DAA’s Women in Analytics mentoring program has been an eye-opening experience for me. The DAA states “The purpose of this program is to assist mentees in improving upon professional skills over time with an end goal of advancing their careers.” Honestly, it is so much more than that. I have learned so much from the four mentees I have worked with. I’d like to think they have learned from me as well.
I have worked on many things with my mentees, from learning about CDP’s to negotiating for a better salary. Several themes have appeared across my mentees that I’d like to share with you.
All of the mentees I have worked with are female. They are smart, diverse, and driven. Yet I notice that confidence is an issue for them in the workplace. Often they know the answer to the questions they ask and still, they seem sometimes to defer to someone else. If I have taught my mentees nothing else, I hope they learn to believe in themselves and to trust their own power.
Similarly, I have noted that my mentees, and many young women I have worked with in the past need to learn how to advocate for themselves. The ability to speak up for ourselves is critical. This has been a challenge for me in my career and I am so grateful my lead at Blast Analytics is so encouraging and supportive. I think young women often need that little nudge to assert themselves. The entire workforce needs to be reminded that assertiveness is not pushy and it’s okay to have a voice.
As an example, one of my mentees was essentially doing the job of two people. She has a toddler and an infant at home and found she was having to choose between work and home. While I coached her on asking for a raise, the larger problem was that unrealistic expectations were set for her. Work or home should not be a choice. We must be able to advocate for ourselves without fear.
My mentees have spanned across the United States and their level of knowledge constantly astounds me. I learn so much from them. It is worth noting that being a mentor is not always easy, though it is always worthwhile. Two of my mentees have decided that analytics is not the career for them. For that, I applaud them for having the courage to leave the field and pursue something more meaningful for them.
The mentorship program is an excellent opportunity for self-reflection for mentors and mentees alike. It affords people the chance to learn new things, meet new people, and explore and reflect on your career. If you're thinking about becoming a mentor or mentee and would like more information or perspective, I'd be happy to talk with you#WomeninAnalytics