Guest post by Jeanette Zalder, Professional Mentor
Think you don’t have enough experience or technical expertise to be a TechWomen Professional Mentor? Think again! By sharing your experience and combining it with the enthusiasm and drive of an Emerging Leader (EL), you can create a truly memorable experience for the EL, for yourself, and for people in your company and circle of friends.
When I stepped off the elevator last October at the Google offices in San Francisco, there was a smiling face looking at everyone – Djamila. When she saw me, her smile grew even bigger. The recognition was immediate and it felt like we had known each other forever. Well, we did “meet” a few times before – on Skype. That evening was the first time I met Djamila Douache, my Emerging Leader from Algiers, Algeria face-to-face.
Here is our recipe for an amazing experience. Of course, open-mindness is required throughout the entire program!
- Cast a wide net when designing mentorship projects. Be creative. Get a co-worker and brainstorm together. Don’t think you have to know everything you are proposing. You can learn together or bring in other subject matter experts from across the company or even the Bay Area.
- It takes a village. Recruit others for their expertise to help your Emerging Leader with their project. Network not just inside but also outside the company. Get lots of different perspectives. You will be surprised at how eager people are to share their knowledge and contribute to the success of an EL’s project.
- Use the Agile Methodology once you have defined a project idea. Keep iterating, have daily stand-up meetings to track progress, fail fast, and maintain constant communication. Time will fly. In the end you only have about 16 working days. Tweak as you go. Set a base goal and a stretch goal.
Let me fast-forward one month to the project presentation. Djamila built a Learning Path on Google Sites for building a mobile application on Force.com. Her stretch goal was to then build a mobile app using her Learning Path. She literally got the last part of the mobile app to work 3 hours before the presentation! She accomplished her goals and the project was a huge success.
The mentorship is truly an amazing experience for the Emerging Leader, the Professional Mentor, and the host company. Give it a try!
The Professional Mentor Application for the 2014 TechWomen program opens on June 10.
Jeanette Zalder is Director of Technology, People & Leadership in the Technology & Products organization at Salesforce.com. Her team focuses on on-boarding, technical training, technical knowledge sharing as well as recognition, innovation and patent programs. Jeanette is passionate about building bridges between technical and non-technical people as well as introducing girls to the technology field and women to stay in the field. She is a founding member of the “Women in Technology” group at Salesforce.com, member of the Information Technology Advisory Board at Juniata College, and board member for Girls Inc. of the Island City. Prior to joining Salesforce.com, Jeanette was a Consultant at Barclays Global Investors (BlackRock) and Charles Schwab for financial services technology implementations, managed a startup development organization and traversed the globe as a software implementation consultant. Jeanette started her career as a developer after graduating from Juniata College with a B.S. in Computer Sciences and Foreign Languages. @jzalder