Guest post by Anjali Pradhan, 2020-2021 TechWomen Professional Mentor
This was my second time participating in the TechWomen program, and I was amazed at how well the organizers brought together hundreds of women across the globe. For the mentorship program, I was matched with Areej Abuhammad, a tenured associate professor at the University of Jordan. I could not have been more fortunate to learn about Areej and her impressive academic accomplishments. Within the first few sessions, we both felt connected and were glad to be introduced via the mentorship program. As we talked, we immediately felt connected in understanding and appreciating each other’s experiences.
As I started the TechWomen mentorship program, I thought it was about sharing my work, technical experiences and learnings, but I have loved the holistic approach. My sessions with Areej were usually at 8 am in California and 6 pm Jordan time. It was my tea-time and morning dose of inspiration as I got to learn about her. We had a lot in common, and both had pursued our dreams to study abroad. However, I soon learned my challenges and difficulties were nothing in comparison. Areej has been resilient, passionate and persistent in fighting against her challenges. I would express my admiration and Areej would smile, graciously acknowledging my own career accomplishments. Areej said she felt inspired — I replied I felt the same way. I feel it goes both ways: we learn and grow with our mentors or mentees.
Areej is an accomplished researcher, and we’ve worked together to empower her to pursue her dreams through discussions around her resume, her social media presence and topics for an upcoming panel presentation. We’ve worked on building her confidence by simply reminding her of her own career highlights, empowering her to pursue her research dreams. Areej set up the first protein crystallography laboratory in Jordan, proving to others she could do it despite the obstacles in her path. During one of our sessions, she shared a quote with me from journalist Walter Bagehot: “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
Every time you give, you receive so much more
As women, we all experience and overcome challenges in our own ways, and the best form of mentorship is often simply listening and sharing your journey. I believe everyone can be a mentor or mentee, because there is so much to share, and much more to listen and learn. The power of knowledge-sharing is not local or limited to a specific field or technology.
During the last mentorship month, I’ve felt refreshed, energized and motivated in new ways, and I encourage more women to join this program and take/make the time. Because you can make a difference.
Anjali Pradhan is a product executive at Mission Bio with over 15 years of product management and global marketing experience. She is also an executive sponsor of Women in Mission Bio. Her passion for mentoring and women’s empowerment is built through her professional career. She believes in the power of sharing knowledge and experiences and is grateful for both been mentors and mentee’s in her life. She has been a TechWomen Professional Mentor since 2018 and plans to continue her participation both as a Professional Mentor and an Impact Coach in the future.