Mentoring WINning Professionals

Mentoring WINning Professionals

 

To kick off 2016, Women in NetSuite (WIN) Waterloo launched its mentorship program. The purpose of the program is to advance the professional development of women at NetSuite by giving them an opportunity to be mentored by NetSuite leaders and WIN advocates. The mentorship program will run for a full year, with a check-in at the 6-month mark.

We kicked off the mentorship program on January 5th with a launch event announcing the mentor/mentee pairs. The twelve pairs had the opportunity to sit down together for their introductory session and establish what they wanted to come out of the mentorship.

Right now, I’ll bet that you’re picturing a room full of women. No way! Our mentors include both men and women in leadership and management roles at NetSuite Waterloo.

After the mentors and mentees were paired up, we listened to a presentation about mentoring best practices:

  • Mentees, for their part, need to be self-aware, open to feedback, ask thoughtful questions, and be respectful of their mentors’ time. Also, mentees have to figure out for themselves what they need help with – they cannot expect their mentors to do the work for them.
  • Mentors are encouraged to act as a sounding board, offer a new perspective, share their experiences, and provide honest and objective feedback. For some mentees, being accountable to someone will be a strong driving force to help them progress in their careers.

How did we get mentors? A few months back, everyone in the office was asked to complete a survey to gauge interest in a mentoring program. We were also asked whether we would be willing to participate as a mentor, a mentee, or both. With such rapid growth, it was an ideal opportunity for newer staff to connect with someone who could provide encouragement for their professional development. Learning about company history is another added benefit of having a mentor.

Mentees were encouraged to think about what we wanted to get out of the mentoring relationship, and we discussed those thoughts with our mentors. What will the relationship look like? What kind of things do we want to accomplish? How often will we meet? Having some concrete guidelines and goals will help keep us on track and help us monitor our progress.

The mentor-mentee pairings were done deliberately to align the skills and motivations of both the mentor and the mentee. By ensuring that participants were not paired up with someone in the same chain of command, the relationship is neutral. That helps the mentee ask some questions that might be difficult, and the mentor can give an objective, honest response.

One of the other benefits to the mentoring program is the opportunity to form new friendships. In our open office we get the chance to have daily conversations with everyone in passing, but this program will allow pairs to build a friendship on a completely new level.

I ended up in discussion with two other people because my mentor also signed up for a mentor. The three of us had a lively discussion about lives, jobs, tech in general, tech in KW, and tech at NetSuite. Kitchener-Waterloo really has a vibrant tech community and I learned that there are lot of ways to get involved, through Communitech events, local meetup groups (such as Women in Technology P2P and FrontEdge), career fairs, and more. Have you ever considered representing your company at a job fair? I hadn’t, but someone pointed out to me that it’s a good way to network.

We are fortunate to work for a company that supports the career aspirations of everyone, regardless of race or gender. This mentorship program is a clear reflection of that and our commitment to personal and professional growth for all at NetSuite.


The Women in NetSuite (WIN) program is an initiative aimed at helping women at NetSuite advance their careers, not only making the company a better place to work but also improving overall company performance. Under the program, participants will receive mentorship (formal and informal) and have a chance to take part in learning and networking events to foster personal development and career advancement. The Women in NetSuite (WIN) Waterloo chapter was launched in August 2015.

 

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