min read

Why is mentoring so important for female engineers

by Mei Hwi Tan , 21.09.2023

In the fast-changing world of technology, the importance of mentorship for female engineers has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention. These mentorship programs are becoming more recognized as valuable opportunities to tackle the specific hurdles that women encounter in the field. I know firsthand that they are great boosters that fuel growth, spark new ideas, and help women feel more empowered.

These programs aren't just about sharing knowledge, they're about creating safe and welcoming places where women can be themselves. And, they're not about just moving forward, but propelling forward, and they tap into the awesome collective power of women supporting each other.

Sharing knowledge with each other

When it comes to mentoring, sharing knowledge and giving advice are at the heart of what I do. Every situation that arises is like a blank canvas, waiting for insights to fill it. That's why I find such value in not only offering my own knowledge but also tapping into the wealth of expertise that others possess. I've honed the art of using open-ended questions to guide individuals in dissecting problems, enabling them to uncover solutions and fostering their personal development along the way.

I'm a firm believer in the power of self-organizing teams—teams that are well-rounded and competent in various domains. As this translates into my work, my own team members engage in open discussions, collaborative pairings, and lending each other a helping hand. Through mentoring, I'm not just imparting guidance; I'm nurturing an environment where the sharing of knowledge and giving of advice act as cornerstones, building a strong foundation for collective achievement and growth.

Creating a psychologically safe environment for women to thrive

For me, the essence of impactful mentoring lies in crafting an environment where women can truly flourish. It's about fostering a safe place where mentees, especially women, feel not just comfortable but empowered to openly express themselves, question the norms, and even challenge the status quo. By doing so, we lay the foundation for a psychologically secure space—one that encourages creativity.

As a mentor, I understand that this safe space is pivotal for sparking innovation. I know that when women are provided with such an environment, their ingenuity knows no bounds. It's more than just offering guidance; it's about creating an atmosphere where women can confidently step into their own potential, knowing that their unique perspectives are not just respected, but celebrated.

Encouraging growth and development

Drawing from my experiences, I have come to recognize the pivotal role that mentoring plays in shaping career growth and development, particularly for women in the tech sector. It's clear that initiatives aimed at bolstering women's presence in leadership, offering specialized training, and advocating for work-life balance are instrumental in opening doors. Reflecting on the impactful roles women have undertaken across diverse functions at GfK, from engineers to agile coaches, their development to influential positions underscores their ability to excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.

Through personal encounters, I have seen how mentorship can act as a transformative force. It's not just about passing on knowledge and insights; it's about fostering a nurturing environment where individuals receive guidance and support. Mentorship builds a network that encourages collective growth, offering women the tools to confidently navigate their journey within the tech industry.

Mentoring supports engineers of all seniority

Drawing from my own journey, it's evident that mentoring is important for everyone, of all levels of engineering seniority. My own experience with a woman mentor two years ago exemplifies this. Driven by a desire to find a relatable role model, I connected with a C-level executive from Malaysia. Our exchanges were rich with insights, and one standout topic she introduced was "Executive Presence." This concept delves into the ways we project confidence to subordinates, peers, and senior leaders. By cultivating executive presence, individuals unlock pathways to career-defining opportunities. I learnt so much from my mentor, and even though I look to share my experiences with other women, there is always I can learn from them too.

Leveraging the strength of each other

Mentorship serves as a catalyst for women to harness their inherent strengths, fostering collaboration and mutual empowerment. The meticulousness, patience, and bond-building skills that many women possess find their optimal expression within mentoring relationships. Through these partnerships, strengths harmonize, forming a dynamic synergy that propels professional growth. As mentors share insights and mentees absorb guidance, a cycle of learning and advancement takes shape, cultivating leaders who combine vision with meticulous attention.

The rarity of passionate female candidates within engineering teams becomes a beacon of fresh perspectives, infusing positivity into the group. In this way, mentorship are incredibly powerful as they work as a platform for unlocking the collective power of women's strengths, amplifying their impact within the tech industry and beyond.

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