Guest post by Cecile Thirion
“Imagine all the people living for today…imagine all the people sharing all the world…”
Does it sound familiar? I’m pretty sure it does.
What does this famous song from John Lennon and the TechWomen mentorship program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, have in common? Maybe the sense of purpose that each of us can become a world change-agent. How? Simply by joining the TechWomen community, either as a professional mentor or cultural mentor. You’ll be given the opportunity to inspire and empower the next generation of TechWomen in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It’s true. Ask the network of TechWomen alumni, we’ll tell you!
Why volunteer for this program specifically? Fair enough, I asked myself the same question last year and many more:
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you hadn’t been born in the US or any developed country?
Do you often find yourself dreaming of a better world?
What if helping others would help you lean in to your career?
As a 2012 Professional Mentor, recently involved in the 2013 selection committee, this program gave my life meaning. What’s in it for you? Here are three reasons why I think getting involved as a mentor is worth it:
- People drive change, technology enables it. Technology is changing the way we do business in Silicon Valley and in the rest of the world. Think of how social media and mobile phones have changed people’s lives in the Middle East and Africa. There’s no doubt that as a tech savvy woman in Silicon Valley you can make a difference through mentorship.
- In the new global marketplace, this program is a terrific accelerator to build lasting relationships with tech women in the emerging countries. As a marketing executive with global responsibilities, investing in this program was like investing in my personal development as a global leader.
- Grow professionally while helping other women. Imagine being in a room full of smart tech savvy women (Phd, MS, etc) where you can seize the potential of reverse-mentoring. If you add the fact that most of them are leaving their countries for the first time in their life, you realize quickly that beyond paying it forward, your commitment is priceless to them.
You can argue “I’m not ready to do that” or “I don’t have the time”; we all did. I would respond: step out of your comfort zone; it’s such a rewarding experience.
If you are thinking of applying as a mentor and find yourself humming, “I’m a dreamer, I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one”…remember, you’re not the only one.
Cecile Thirion is the Marketing Director of Transportation Central and Local Government at Xerox Services. Cecile (@CecileSF) is a member of Xerox Corp Executive Marketing Council. She has lived in several continents and enjoys multicultural environments.