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Finding and giving career support: Mentorship for women in STEM

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Finding and giving career support: Fiona Brinkman on mentorship for women in STEM (and general career advice)

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Finding and giving career support: Mentorship for women in STEM

  1. 1. Finding and giving career support: Mentorship for women in STEM Fiona Brinkman Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Associate Professor, School of Computing Science, and Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada November 2014
  2. 2. Regarding Mentorship "Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” - Jack Welch
  3. 3. Regarding Mentorship "Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” - Jack Welch EVERYONE should always be both growing yourself and growing others
  4. 4. 4 Myths about Mentoring 1. It only happens on a long term, face to face basis. 2. Mentors need to be older and more experienced. 3. Only the person being mentored benefits. 4. Taking the time to mentor decreases productivity. From Joy Illington & David Morhart
  5. 5. Good Mentors and Mentorship Common descriptions? - Promote you, support you, provide key advice, a role model - Help you make yourself better, prop you up when necessary - Empower you to lead/run with your ideas, providing support along the way
  6. 6. Good Mentors and Mentorship What is really key - Think of the mentee as a person – not a student, employee etc. - Believe in you, personally and professionally - Really cares www.petbloglady.com
  7. 7. Good Mentors and Mentorship Additional good characteristics - Are authentic - Tells it like it is, will level with you - Values ongoing learning - Lead/act by example - Inspire - Listen - Not a controller - Is positive Lead by example
  8. 8. Do you need mentorship? Yes! We all do! Many benefits … Example: Study by economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett found that “both men and women who have a sponsor (mentor) behind them are more likely to ask their boss for a “stretch” assignment and are more likely to ask for raises than those without one.”
  9. 9. Finding a Mentor Approaches - Find those having success you want  ask who their mentor was - Find people who others said are a great mentor - Try mentoring programs  link with those who enjoy mentorship … but you must form a relationship – strangers aren’t good mentors!
  10. 10. Finding a Mentor Approaches - Find those having success you want  ask who their mentor was - Find people who others said are a great mentor - Try mentoring programs  link with those who enjoy mentorship … but you must form a relationship – strangers aren’t good mentors! Best bets - Look within your network - best mentors have buy-in re what you’re doing, already know you, and there’s opportunities to interact - You may already have a mentor and don’t realize it! Get in touch. Ask for input.
  11. 11. Finding a Mentor Additional good characteristics - Ensure your mentor has a good personality fit - Remember, mentors don’t have to be senior to you, can be friends, colleagues Ask yourself what you want in a mentor? Help make career choices? Land a particular job? Balance work and family? Publicize your abilities? Be a role model? You can have multiple mentors: For career, sports, recreation, communication skills, etc...
  12. 12. Being a good mentee Tend to avoid the “will you be my mentor?” initiating approach.  People naturally become your mentor if you engage them. You CAN ask them for help for a given situation Listen Help them back (they love feedback) Be a mentor yourself so you understand it more. Pay it forward...
  13. 13. Mentorship, and Women in STEM We need more women in leadership positions. - Make gender (and other diversity) not a quota, but an annual measure of a successful company, department, board governance… Ensure children are educated EARLY re gender bias, STEM, mentoring Practice quick mentorship -Just a few minutes/comments to a mentee can be transformative. -Bring up success tips for women in STEM. Everywhere. Often.
  14. 14. Mentorship and you ALL OF YOU should be both mentors and mentees. Mentor vertically (youth), horizontally (friends, colleagues) Help improve the Culture in your school, workplace, other environment Mentoring is hugely rewarding, benefits go both ways!
  15. 15. On career advice in general Early stage: Do/study what interests you! Talk to people doing things that interest you! When applying for positions: Customize letters, summarize yourself, network, be realistic (but shoot for your dreams!), keep confidence after rejection, after rejection, after rejection…
  16. 16. On career advice in general When in a position: Show enthusiasm, be reliable, respectful, friendly, inclusive, work hard/play hard, learn to say no if overwhelmed, learn to speak up if not moving up the ladder, seek a mentor Everyone has issues/obstacles in life. Treat them as great challenges. Keep positive! vvpediatrician.wikispaces.com
  17. 17. On career advice in general Moving up the ladder: Don’t underestimate your potential. - Biggest barrier is often your own belief in what is possible. Don’t just work on your weaknesses – work also on your strengths. Find your style! Speak up – Lean in Model your behaviour based on the position you want
  18. 18. On career advice in general Stress and maintaining balance Constantly evaluate yourself – Are you pushing yourself enough? Are you stretching yourself too much? Maintain a balance. Manage stress, keep organized, be results/solutions driven, ensure you take breaks, remember your values, practice mindfullness Have some flexibility, including flexibility with yourself
  19. 19. On career advice in general Career and Family Take time for important quality family time – be there AND don’t feel guilty over time spent on your career. Have support. Think of the role model you are setting for your kids when you love and are passionate about both your career and family! I have always thought of my working mum with pride.
  20. 20. On career advice in general Last words… Love what you do. Find your passion. Include creativity. Success is about the journey Continue with lifelong learning Check your own biases re women and STEM Develop your network. Build contacts within/outside your area. Keep growing yourself and growing others
  21. 21. Bob Hancock Jo-Anne Dillon
  22. 22. Brinkman Lab Kayaking Trip, Summer 2013 … Jenn Gardy, Will Hsiao and others!

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