Angelina Darrisaw joined James Boehmer (MLB Advanced Media), Julie DeLoca (Loca Marketing), Minda Harts (The Memo), Andrew Saunders (NBC Universal) and Alexis Tyron (Artsicle) on a panel about Modern Mentorship at General Assembly. Each of the panelists serve as mentors for GA's inaugural Mentor Match program. The program, which has 12 mentee seats to match with the selected 12 mentors, received over 300 applications during the application window. The March panel was an opportunity for all the applicants to come together and get mentor feedback from the GA mentors.
In small group sessions led by the mentors, attendees discussed mentorship best practices and how to find and connect with the right mentor in tech. Participants asked questions like: "How do I engage a stranger to mentor me?" "How do I leverage a mentor relationship to help me find a job?" "What if I dislike my assigned mentor?" "Is cold outreach to a potential mentor ok?"
Following the small group discussions, the mentors joined a panel to chat takeaways and field audience questions. The questions asked revealed a need for deeper resources around engaging mentors and managing mentor relationships.
Angelina posed a question to her fellow panelists, a mixed gender group, "How is navigating mentor relationships different for women in tech? How can men be better allies to their junior female counterparts?" The panelists weighed in and suggested senior men be more thoughtful about where they invite junior women on their team and the women that they mentor. Others suggested group mentoring when the mentee is younger and of a different gender.
Sometimes addressing uncomfortable topics isn't convenient or easy, but it has to be done if to incite change. Angelina received multiple emails the following day thanking her for raising that question.