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What My Mentor Taught Me: Mei Hwi Tan, Principal Software Engineer

by Mei Hwi Tan , 29.01.2024

In our ongoing series, "What My Mentors Taught Me," we explore the profound impact of mentorship on career growth. Today, we turn the spotlight to Mei Hwi Tan, a Principal Software Engineer whose journey in the tech industry has been intricately woven with the guidance of her mentors.

Mei Hwi's evolution to her role as a Principal Software Engineer exemplifies the transformative power of mentorship, illustrating how it can elevate one's abilities as both a communicator and a leader.

Tell us about the mentors you've had and how they've helped you improve as a communicator and leader.

I've been fortunate to learn from managers who brought a refreshing approach to tough conversations with employees. They consistently practiced active listening and maintained open, approachable communication styles, even when faced with challenging discussions. Witnessing their humility in keeping egos in check during heated moments left a lasting impression on me.

One memorable mentor once shared that they gained valuable insights from our interactions. This unexpected revelation was a turning point, reshaping my perspective. It underscored the idea that learning knows no hierarchy – everyone has something to teach, regardless of their seniority or experience.

Recently, I had a casual chat with a junior software engineer who imparted a valuable lesson in communication. Their genuine curiosity about why people choose engineering careers led to an insightful conversation, emphasizing the power of curiosity in building connections.

How did your mentor inspire you to go above and beyond?

When my mentor acknowledges my contributions and entrusts me with responsibilities, it boosts my confidence significantly. Observing mentors who lead by example, going the extra mile to support continuous learning through knowledge-sharing and supportive actions, motivates me to replicate these practices in my own professional journey.

Furthermore, my mentor's broader perspective on situations reminds me to keep the bigger picture in mind, preventing me from getting lost in the details of a problem.

How much of your success would you attribute to the mentorship program you participated in?

Mentorship programs provide a valuable source of motivation and inspiration. As individuals, we encounter obstacles, setbacks, and unforeseen challenges. It's essential to feel supported within the organization and avoid succumbing to discouragement. I've found mentorship programs instrumental in this regard. The one-on-one sessions create a safe space for discussions and feedback, revitalizing my determination to tackle challenges.

Additionally, my mentors' wisdom, personalities, thought processes, and experiences have been wellsprings of inspiration. Various leaders have left distinct imprints on my journey, contributing to the formation of my current leadership style. These diverse influences collectively shaped my path and contributed to my success.

Thank you so much to Mei Hwi for sharing your insights into mentoring. It was great to learn about communication and leadership when it comes to mentoring. If you are interested in reading more stories from our inspirational employees, please head to the careers blog.

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