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Using Quarantine to Your Advantage

When I was told that I had to come home for quarantine I was thrilled. I was going to use it to my advantage to broaden my horizons and learn new things I’ve been putting off. I wanted to add to my business by learning how to code and increase my skills for school, I wanted to read books that have been sitting on my shelf for months.  

If you’re in the same boat and want to take advantage of this time of being home here’s your kick in the butt to keep motivated and maybe even make a positive mark on a negative situation. 

So why not increase your appeal to a potential job: Get a new certification in your field. A lot of certification can be gained online quickly and can be inexpensive as well. Use this time to become familiar with the companies that your interested in; social media presence. If they don’t have one learn about graphic design apps that are user friendly so you can help build their presence. You can use this opportunity to completely redo your resume. Make it bold and stand out, the top 1/3 of the documents should grab your attention. Use key words that have been used in the job description you are applying for.  If you don’t feel comfortable working on it on your own you can hire someone to look over your resume for you. You can use zoom or team meeting for a face to face meeting. 

 

Take on a new language: Since most of us are connected to your phones just about 24/7 what better way to use them, than by downloading an app to teach you something new. Such as Babbel or Duolingo, both apps are user friendly and slowly introduce you to learning a new language. 

 

Get creative: Have you also enjoyed art and graphic design but never had time to really learn the ins and outs of it? There are hundreds of tutorials on YouTube for free that can teach you how to use Photoshop and lightroom and edit your designs, even just take a free art class.  If you have a camera, take the time and go outside. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day.  Were you a painter at one point in your life and put it away because life got a little crazy? Well now is the perfect time to idle those hands again. 

 

Take control of your health: Have you been struggling to stay on track with your goals, do you want to avoid losing all your progress you’ve made in your health in the past few months? Join an online fitness community following a live workout that personal trainers and gyms are hosting on social media. Test out new recipes with items just in your home, replace out habits with new ones. Start by drinking more water each day, small changes like this can make a big difference down the road. 

             

           So now that I’ve shown you the limitless opportunities you have why not take advantage of them. Start showing up for yourself and prove that quarantine isn’t just a period of isolation. 

 

 

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Artist in Quarantine

I lost my job due to Covid-19. It was a fantastic job that I was lucky to have. The job was in my chosen field, I was well qualified for it, I had a lot of responsibility, trust, overcame many challenges, and I loved my boss. At the time of writing this we are faced with the uncertainty of whether the company will be able to reopen once this wave has passed. Despite how much I loved my job, I must admit this job was never my end goal.

I double majored in English and Studio Art in college. Two years in I discovered that my passion was painting. I had been painting since I could walk; my first mural came at age four on the second floor wall of our brand new family home, made using finger paints, spanning the length of the hallway and as far high as I could touch. I was quite proud of my masterpiece. My mother was less pleased. It took until my Senior year of college to hear someone tell me that they believed I could pursue painting as a career. Those words of encouragement came from my painting professor who I held in the highest regard. The most startling part of what he told me was not that he believed I could become great; it was that he expected me to become great. Unfortunately, there is no linear way to be an artist. In most fields people are said to have “paved the way” for others. I often feel that I am bushwhacking my own path.

There is one proven way of becoming a successful artist. Making. As often as possible. There are these programs called artist-in-residence. These programs are designed to take an artist of any medium and provide them a prescribed amount of time away from distractions and their normal life in order to produce their work. Usually these occur out in the forest, on deserted islands, or in foreign cities. Anywhere that will give the artist inspiration and freedom. They are usually expensive and often competitive but every artist I know who has participated in one has raved about their experience, created killer work, and immediately searched for another opportunity.

Given my sudden abundance of free time and nowhere to go this seemed like the perfect moment to create my own artist-in-residence or what I like to call my “artist-in-quarantine”. As things began to shut down, I ordered an abundance of art supplies and got to work. I spend most days now locked in my apartment creating. I usually have a podcast or audiobook playing and I create however I feel like on that day. This was important to me as I did not want to box myself into a specific goal or obtuse expectations. I wanted to see what would come of me making art for my own sake. My work has spanned drastically so far from huge paintings to small paintings, drawings, and even making a coloring book for my niece and yes, okay, I painted a bedroom like everyone else. My apartment is covered in art supplies. There is a painting in progress on almost every flat surface. I have a rolling cart with my tools, and I follow the light and any spark of inspiration around my space like a sundial. I take my dog for walks and I make indulgent desserts. My techniques are developing, and I try to remember to breathe.

This is a stressful and frankly terrifying time for us all. I’m not trying to be heroic or make light of what is going on. I also know that I am not the only artist to be doing this. I am incredibly lucky to have a stable place to live and a loving family who are making sure I don’t starve and occasionally take a painting away from me before I destroy it. I am doing what I need to do to feel sane during a time that is not sane at all. I don’t know the right way and I am not naive enough to think how I am proceeding is the right way for everyone, but it is the right way for me.

You can request custom paintings by Christina Mignosa via emailing [email protected] or by checking out her Instagram @christinamignosaart

 

Painting: “Self-portrait: quarantine” (16×20)

Painting: “Gooseberry Beach” (16×20)

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Investing in developing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

As an organization, Women Accelerators aims to help advance women and promote gender equity though creating a centralized network and community where women can access resources to help achieve their career goals.

Women Accelerators welcomed Dr. Alexis Stokes in February to meet their community to discuss issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Dr. Stokes serves as the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at the Harvard School of Engineering where she creates systematic changes to support the success of unrepresented minorities, nontraditional students, and education programs.

Below is a summary of Dr. Stokes presentation with information and tips that can be discussed and utilized in your workplace.

Why are diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations essential?

The world demographics are changing which impacts all environments.  This creates a need to change and innovate the way that organizations have always done things.  Organizations can empower their communities to get involved and create an environment where the culture values diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Inclusive practices benefit everyone within an organization, not just diverse employees.

How can organizations help create diverse, inclusive, and equitable spaces?

It is much more than just hiring an individual for a diversity position.  It is about influencing the organizational culture to move beyond simply working in an inclusive environment to contributing to an inclusive environment.  Understanding the culture (beliefs, customs, acts) of a group helps develop a strategy to invite and encourages individuals into a conversation and create connections to what is valued.  The process should allow individuals in a group to use their privilege and powers to help others.  Organizations need to prioritize this as important work that they do as individuals as well as teams.

It is essential that organizations are clear and transparent with employees as to where they currently stand in the journey to become diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments.  Sharing a process and timeline can be helpful to allow individuals to visualize how getting involved can impact this work.  Being open and honest around data and decisions can allow people to feel more included in work that is going on and to start conversations and help make connections.

For an organization to work on diversity, inclusion, and equity, what resources are necessary?

Organizational culture is a shared responsibility where everyone needs to contribute.  Creating diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment requires ongoing commitment and resources to make the initiative successful.  Necessary resources include: budget, staffing, a communication plan to internal and external groups, connection to those who hold influential positions in the organization, visibility within the organization, access to data and resources, and training that enhances knowledge and action.

What steps should an organization take to create action around diversity, equity, and inclusion?

An organization needs to include these values as part of their mission. All departments and groups should be held responsible for reporting on their progress and success. Creating accountability as individuals, teams, and organizations helps to develop a culture where expectations, commitment, and reporting become the norm.  Additionally, organizations need to share data with people as this knowledge helps to influence actions.

What are some suggestions around how reporting can be done to understand the impact on efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion?

There are several ways that impact can be evaluated.  They include:

  • Develop initiative into an organizations strategic plan and create a congruent diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan that supplements the larger plan.
  • Develop/implement a community standard or code of conduct.
  • Goal setting on measurable activities or tasks.
  • Include in employee evaluations a way for each induvial to share what they have done to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Track progress on initiatives implemented and shared findings with the organization.

What can individuals do to support the creation or further development of diversity, equity, and inclusion through their work?

Individuals have the power to influence and create change in many ways:

  • Provide micro affirmations of positive things you see and experience. These can be very effective and help others create a culture that respects diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Give credit to others when appropriate and try to use “we” more than “I” to create a group culture.
  • Ask others for opinions and feedback, especially if you notice that they have not had an opportunity to speak.
  • Use the preferred pronouns for individuals and work to use inclusive language and images.
  • Make eye contact with those you are working and speaking with to create a connection.
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Greater Lowell Community Foundation Announces Fiscal Sponsorship of Women Accelerators

Lowell, MA – The Greater Lowell Community Foundation announces the recent fiscal sponsorship of Women Accelerators, an organization passionate about promoting the advancement of women and bridging the gender gap. Women Accelerators is based in Massachusetts with chapters in Lowell and Cambridge.

The mission of Women Accelerators is to provide a centralized network where career-focused women can access resources tailored to their career goals. By offering educational programs, networking and mentoring, they help women navigate opportunities that nurture female leaders efficiently. Their vision is to generate a community of like-minded, high-achieving women, who help each other succeed in the workplace.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Greater Lowell Community Foundation as the fiscal sponsor for Women Accelerators. The GLCF has a wealth of experience and the necessary resources to assist us in our mission of helping women with their career advancement. By pairing with GLCF, we gain valuable insights into fundraising and learn the tools for being more efficient in managing a nonprofit. Teaming with GLCF will help us to build a stronger community,” said Susu Wong, co-founder of Women Accelerators.

“We see the foundation’s support of Women Accelerators as an important opportunity to optimize the excellence of this organization that serves women in all stages of their careers,” said Jay Linnehan, GLCF President and CEO. “We are proud to partner on their vision of equity in the workplace.”

For more information and a full event listing, visit: womenaccelerators.org.

Donations to any fund at the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, including the Women Accelerators, can be made online at www.glcfoundation.org/donate or by mail to the Women Accelerators c/o GLCF, 100 Merrimack Street, Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852.

For more information on the Greater Lowell Community Foundation please visit www.glcfoundation.org.

 

About Greater Lowell Community Foundation

The Greater Lowell Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization comprised of over 350 funds, currently totaling over $39MM, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life in

20 neighboring cities and towns. The Community Foundation annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students. It is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from its staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $15 million to the Greater Lowell Community since 1999.

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The Women Accelerators 2019 Mentoring Program Wrap-up

Written by Huan Rui, Ph.D., a computational chemist at Amgen. Huan is currently the president at Women Accelerators. She served as the program chair during the 2019 mentoring program. 

No one can deny the benefits of having mentors who lift us up and help us in our careers. There can be times when it feels uncertain who could guide us through difficult situations.

But remember, mentorship does not have to be formal and you can have more than one mentor. One of the informal mentorship models I like is peer mentoring. It happens more often than you think. Think of a time you asked a friend or a coworker about something that you did not know well but they did. Usually, you get the answer you need. You come to them because you think that they are the experts in the topic and this is often well perceived and appreciated. Another way to get mentoring opportunities is to talk to your manager or advisor directly and express to them your needs. Many companies and academic institutes already have a mentoring program in place, but in case yours do not, it is absolutely OK you ask. 

If you are too shy to ask for help from people you know, there are also many mentoring opportunities online or in-person offered by different organizations that can fit your needs. At Women Accelerators, we have been running a mentoring program for seven years. We have an extensive network of mentors and our graduates are in a variety of fields like academia, biotech, law, and management. The program starts in January and ends in June of each year, but the applications start in October the year before. (That is if you want to be part of the 2020 program, the application is coming up.) As a mentee of the program, during each month you meet with your mentor for an hour to discuss the issues you need help with. Some popular topics include effective job search, salary negotiation, self-branding, and so on. Many of our previous year participants have expressed their appreciation of the program:

“My mentoring experience has been great so far! I feel so lucky for being matched with my mentor. She has introduced countless helpful resources in career building and was so supportive when I told her (halfway through the program) that I have decided to make a career change. I think we have made a relationship that will continue on far after the mentoring program has ended.”  – Candace Anderson, 2019 program mentee

A lot of efforts have been put in by our passionate volunteers to improve the program each year. For example, in the past year, we implemented a matching algorithm based on the common interests of the mentors and mentees. It follows the work done by the 2012 Nobel Laureates in Economics, Dr. Alvin Roth on market design and game theory (Roth and Peranson, 1999). It works by matching the parties by their preferential rankings of each other, therefore maximizing the overall commonality between the mentors and mentees. We have also started a Slack channel for the mentees to communicate with each other and share what they have learned. We will keep on testing new ideas and make the mentoring program experience better. 

Roth, Alvin, E., and Elliott Peranson. 1999. “The Redesign of the Matching Market for American Physicians: Some Engineering Aspects of Economic Design.” American Economic Review, 89 (4): 748-780

Check out a Mentee’s Perspective of the 2018 Mentoring Wrap up

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My personal journey of mentoring

Written by Huan Rui, Ph.D., a computational chemist at Amgen. Huan is currently the president at Women Accelerators. She served as the program chair during the 2019 mentoring program.

After more than twenty years in school, I finally landed a job that I like and pays well. I moved to Boston with loads of ambition and an open mind. When Susu Wong, the cofounder of Women Accelerators approached me at a networking event and told me about her non-profit that helps women succeed in their careers, I instantly took a liking of her and her organization. I decided to volunteer. Once I found out that Women Accelerators has an annual mentoring program, with my academic background and my enthusiasm in helping others, I became the program chair for 2019. 

Coming from an engineering background, I understand how hard it is to not have a mentor to guide you through difficult times. I studied bioinformatics in college. It is one of those majors that have a severe skewed male to female ratio. On top of that, the school I went to was an engineering school and that did not help restore the ratio balance. Almost all my teachers and peers were men. It was very difficult to relate to them. But still, I finished my degree with a reasonably good GPA and moved to the US in pursuit of a Ph.D. in computational biology. Again, I had the same problem finding a role model. This is also the time I realized that I am not only woman, I am a queer woman. At the time, marriage equality was only in a few states and many members of the LGBTQ community in academia were not publicly. I could not find a single faculty member in my department or any related departments that is both woman and gay. I was lucky that I found a community of folks who support LGBTQ rights in the small college town. We became friends; we supported each other. We organized “Food Not Bomb” events feeding the homeless and the poor. We went to underground art shows and concerts. We participated in marches demanding women’s rights. It was through these events that I learned how to organize and lead. These people are my friends and also my mentors. We helped each other grow.

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

Often times we may find ourselves in situations where we are the only ones and there is no place we can turn for answers. When this happens, do not be afraid. Instead, we should give ourselves a pat on the back, because this means that we are on a road that no one else has traveled before and we are truly the pioneers. There is a Chinese saying, “to be the first one eating the crabs”. Imagine if you have not seen a crab before, would you be willing to eat it? Only after you taste it that you discover its deliciousness. The moral of the story is that being brave and having an open mind can lead to pleasant discoveries. Be brave when you are on your own. 

Continue to read Huan’s next blog on Women Accelerator’s Mentoring Program. 

 

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5 Simple Self Care Tips for Fall

With a summer that surely expired quicker than we all would like, it’s almost time for the weather to change again. Fall in Boston has so many redeeming qualities: colorful leaves, cozy sweaters, apple picking (see: apple donuts) and your favorite warm drink.

Unfortunately, this time of year can also bring extra anxiety and sometimes an overwhelming increase in items on the ‘to-do’ list. As we plan for the upcoming start of classes, new jobs, and whatever else may be on the horizon, it is important to remember that it’s not all about the hustle. Slowing down and taking time for YOU is vital for well-being and long-term productivity.

When you are happy and managing stress, you are performing better overall – so, to help our followers stay at the top of their game we compiled these 5 tips for self care. 

  1. Take time for soul-searching before taking action

Something often overlooked in self care is the importance of individual consideration. No number of spa days will cure the overwhelming stress of working in a role that is a major mismatch; or, working within culture that mismatches with your own personal beliefs. 

Taking some time to clear your head, identify a root cause or a personal need can be the best gift to yourself. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or in personal matters and aren’t able to quash the stress or anxiety, take time to soul search. If there is something or someone in your life causing you pain, and you are able to distance yourself, then that may be the best self care possible. Similarly, if you used to love to paint (or name a hobby) but haven’t had time for it lately, maybe it’s time to pick up that brush and see if it is the escape you needed.

Our leadership team is composed of a diverse group of women and we all have different self-care rituals. You must find what works for you. 

Have trouble slowing your mind down long enough to think? Sometimes the best way to think is to pause long enough to catch your breath & be present – Try one of these guided meditation apps to find your zen:

Headspace

Calm

Insight Timer

Ensō 

& for the skeptic who is not sure that they want to meditation, read this

 

  1. Hit the weights

Getting into an exercise routine can be the hardest part with a busy schedule but blocking time on your calendar and following through is worth it! There is no prescribed time for the positive results of exercise so just get your blood pumping even if that means taking 10-15 minutes each morning to do push ups and sit ups before your morning routine. 

Research shows that exercise can relieve stress, reduce depression and improve cognitive function. But don’t just take our word for it:

Harvard Health on exercising to relax.

American Psychological Association on the stress and exercise link.

American Heart Association on working out to relieve stress.

 

  1. Indulge in a spa day

A spa day doesn’t mean you need to take an entire day off (unless you can – then treat yourself). Instead, choose a service that makes you happy and relax. Taking an hour to get your nails done or get a massage could be “your” meditation.  Changing up your hair or nails can be a boost of confidence. A spa day isn’t going to fully change your self perception BUT it gives you a chance to step back and refresh your look (& hopefully outlook on life).

Having a positive self image can impact your daily life and part of that is how you feel in your skin. Think through these positive thinking strategies as you pick out your new fall nail color (helpful for perfectionists like me!). 

  1. Take a walk

If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed out and aren’t able to take time off (yet) –  sometimes the best thing to do is take a walk. Even taking a walk around the office or around the building outside can do wonders for clearing your head or helping you cool down from a tense situation in the classroom or boardroom. Walking removes you from the stressors and the stressful environment and can give you much needed fresh perspective. 

For even more value on your walk – take a friend. Use the walk to vent or get feedback on an issue you are facing. Or use the time to connect with someone you may not normally talk to and make a new friend in the process. 

 

  1. READ

If time off of work for travel & relaxation is out of the question, take your mind on vacation. One of the easiest ways to escape is to dive into a good book and feel immersed in its pages.

If you have a long commute (shout out to the MBTA), you can take 10-15 minutes to step away from your stressors and imagine a different world or learn something new. Once you reach your destination, you will at least have a fresh perspective on your environment and maybe even a few ideas to tackle the day’s challenges!

 Check out these 24 reads under 200 pages (both fiction and non-fiction).

 

“Self-care is how you take your power back.”

– Lalah Delia

 

Finally, remember that we are in this together. Empower, Engage and Elevate!

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Essential Management Skills for New Managers

Written by Susu Wong based on Etta Jacob’s How to Improve Your Management Skills Webinar.

Etta Jacobs, Founder of Hermes Path and an Executive and Career Transition Coach has a  passion for helping people reach their highest potential.  We were honored to have Etta as a speaker for two webinars in January where she shared  “How to Improve Your Management Skills.”

The webinars were highly interactive and the attendees were encouraged to chat about their challenges and experiences as managers. Many attendees said that one of the hardest adjustments was delegation because they were used to being individual contributors. Why do new managers have a hard time delegating? An underlying reason is managers think they can do it faster and better than their team members. Training people takes time and can take as much as eight months but the time is worth the reward.

 

Why Delegate?

New managers are no longer being judged on their own merit, but rather by the performance of their entire team. They also have other responsibilities and assignments from their supervisors creating a wedge in the ranking file. When a new strategy rolls out, such as a new product, programs, or service offering from their supervisors, the middle managers have to make sure it gets implemented on time, on budget, and on top of everything else on their plate. Delegating tasks and setting expectations for their team will make it easier for managers to get their jobs done because they can no longer do everything.  Let your team figure things out on their own and guide them along the way. Be clear about communicating your expectations and the outcomes you are looking for— this will help them know if they are heading in the right direction.

One of the observations Etta made was that no matter how you think of yourself, your title will precede you into the room. Your team is constantly watching everything you do and sizing you up. You should assume competence, and fake it until you make it!

 

Can friends be your employees?

This is especially challenging if you become your friend’s boss after a period of acting as peers. Your new status can make it difficult for you to remain friends so you have to consider your day to day roles and may have to change your behavior and interaction. Set boundaries between you and your friends to help avoid conflict of interest issues and even perceptions of favoritism. Needless to say, you don’t want to give your friends—who are now your employees—the impression of any special treatment.  While at work, always keep it professional.

 

Team dynamics

Here are some tips from Etta:

  1. Do not reprimand your team in front of your boss, it will make them look bad and lose the respect of your authority.
  2. Watch your body language. Don’t make eye rolls when you’re unhappy with someone!
  3. What if I make mistakes as this is common for new managers? The important part is what can I learn from this? Don’t bury your mistakes and don’t blame someone else for your mistakes. You need to own it and come up with a plan to improve the situation.
  4. Encouraging questions will help you to understand what the underlying issues are so you can come up with a solution or work-around.
  5. It is important to set aside time to manage your budget and hiring. Sometimes it is tempting to hire someone quickly when you are short on staff and your team is working extra hours.
  6. Remember to hire the right people that compliment your strengths and weaknesses.  Making thoughtful decisions in terms of hiring talent will go a long way.
  7. Stress, what stress? Etta said that a lot of stress is self-induced and it is helpful to shift your mindset. Your Inner Critic is really watching out for your best interest not trying to undermine you. Learn how to interpret the signals from your Inner Critic.
  8. Say to yourself, I got this and quiet the noise. Visualize positive outcomes, and ask yourself – what is stressing me the most? Please stop trying to be perfect!
  9. You can’t fix your boss but you can change some of your approaches to him/her and take a different view.  Try to think of the boss as a teacher or a mentor. Keep listening and be open-minded to suggestions.
  10. Your boss hates surprises and hates being blindsided.

Here are some strategies to de-stress:

  1. Find what works for you such as a to-do list, exercise to de-stress, etc.
  2. Ask for help –  self-care is the “secret sauce” to be very effective at work.
  3. Find a safe space – a circle of peers who you feel comfortable talking to.
  4. Embrace risk and try something new.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up over trying to be perfect.
  6. Learn to see your mistakes as opportunities to be better.

 

Etta recommends reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck to get more in tune with your mind.

For more middle manager tips from Etta, visit her website at: https://www.powerinthemiddle.com/

Check out our blogs and visit our website for upcoming events and webinars.

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How to Make the Most out of your Mentorship: PART 2, Mentoring Resources

Last month we shared some tips to make the most out of your mentorship. If you missed it, read it here. This month, we’ve compiled a list of resources to help with the journey- whether you’ve joined our Women Accelerator’s mentoring group OR just want to strengthen a mentoring relationship you already have in place, these links will help!

In many cases, a mentor’s advice and the mentor/mentee relationship has an impact that lasts long after the official mentorship ends. To preface the resources, we asked the Women Accelerators leadership team to share some of the best advice they’ve ever received.

“I try not to sweat over little things that are not that important. The other thing is I stop myself when I start becoming a perfectionist because no one is.”

“If you aren’t LOVING your current role, look around for the resources available to you within the organization – ask the question if you aren’t sure you can take courses. Take as many classes or accept as many opportunities as you can. Learn as much as you possibly can. Continue to work hard in your current role but exploring resources and learning may make you more qualified for your next role or ignite an old passion for your current position. ”

“Sometimes you will just not be a fit – for an organization’s culture or a specific role. That is OK. If you don’t get the job, walk away from a job or lose a job, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. Keep your head up and remember some of the best things in life are found after someone failed. Press on and find a spot that clicks – you’ll be much happier.”

“You’re mad because you suck and you don’t want to suck. You’re used to being the best. But you need to understand you’re going to suck for awhile and that’s OK. [in context of starting a new role and the learning curve that comes with it].”

“I used to get burned out very often. One of the best advice I have gotten is to “not lose sight in the current and always remind yourself of what you want” because work requests can be endless and some of them don’t necessarily lead to anywhere career wise. It is important to remember what excites you the most and follow that.”

Can you think back to advice you’ve received from a mentor that still impacts your life today?

Mentoring can be an incredible opportunity with SO much gained but it can also be SO much work especially if you don’t know where to start or what to ask. Check out the resources below to help guide you as you navigate through a mentorship as a mentor or mentee:

Mentee

  1. Demystifying Mentoring
  2. 40 Questions to Ask a Mentor
  3. 12 Powerful Questions to Ask a Mentor about Career Path
  4. What mentors with their Mentees knew
  5. Tips for Mentees
  6. TED: The Career Advice you probably didn’t get
  7. TED: Why we have too few women leaders

Mentor

  1. Top 10 tips for mentors
  2. What the best mentors do 
  3. How to mentor someone who doesn’t know what their goals should be 
  4. A quick exercise to explore different life paths
  5. Good Mentors help you work through strong emotions
  6. Demystifying Mentoring

Want to learn more about our annual mentoring program? Find out more here.

 

Finally, remember that we are in this together. Empower, Engage and Elevate!

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Do you self-promote enough?

Remember we recently had a webinar with Melody Wilding on imposter-syndrome (See our blog post Tackle self-doubt: How to overcome imposter syndrome for more)? In the webinar, we learned that feeling like you’re not good enough or you don’t have anything important to say is a common psychological pattern amongst women.

But let’s be reminded: no one should feel that way.

And so our message continues. On Thursday, we had the pleasure to welcome Kim Meninger (pronounced Me-nin-jer!) to speak on Using Self-Promotion Strategies to Raise Your Visibility, Increase Your Influence and Advance Your Career. This interactive workshop encouraged fellow career-driven women to share their stories with each other and to take a step forward using self-promotion techniques and strategies.

Kim is a certified executive and leadership development coach empowering individuals and organizations to reach their full leadership potential (bio here). There is something about her that instantly invites you to open up. Perhaps it’s the business casual (vs the full-on corporate) attire styled-up with her warm smile. Welcome to the no-judgment zone. So tell me, she begins, “how many of you self-promote at work?” Still only 5 minutes into the workshop, the audience is shy and reserved. One hand goes up, and another slowly. Kim chuckles and nods: “Well, everyone at your office should know who you are and what you do. So promote yourself!”

Kim then asked the audience to turn to their fellow attendees (everyone is sitting at round tables) and ask each other, in what ways are you/am I self-promoting at work already? One person said “I sit in the front at meetings and try to ask questions”, another said, “I usually try to reach out to people from other departments to seek collaborations”. Few minutes into the group discussion, the room became gradually vibrant with audiences lending their ears and opening up to each other. “Let me ask again”, Kim said, “how many people are self-promoting at work?” This time, majority of the attendees raised their hands. Turns out, once the audience verbalized their experiences, they were able to recognize that they do self-promote. What does this tell us? Do we, women, need affirmation in order to feel comfortable or safe to self-promote?

Kim doesn’t miss a beat and poses to the group: Why is self-promotion difficult for women? One audience said she’s tired of the bad reaction she receives from male colleagues, another added, “you fear of negative labels by men so you’d rather not talk”. It’s as if self-promotion feels insincere to us and so you fear to act on it. Unfortunately, this tends to be the mindset that is taught to us women at a young age.

So let’s change that mindset!

Kim says “promoting yourself is actually a service to others because you’re letting them know what skills you have and how they can utilize you”. If you don’t feel comfortable self-promoting, remember to focus on your strengths, not the other way around which apparently we all tend to do.

With that in mind, Kim shared below key to success and strategies for self-promotion.

Keys to success:

  • Self-awareness – What is your strength?
  • Confidence – You must believe in yourself!
  • Courage – Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone
  • Authenticity – Be you!
  • Consistency – This isn’t an annual practice, do it consistently throughout the year!

Key Strategies:

  1. Get a weekly facetime with your boss. If not, proactively send her/him weekly updates, highlighting your accomplishments of the week.
  2. Identify and own your expertise.
  3. Speak up at meetings.
  4. Offer to help/teach others.
  5. Build strategic relationships.
  6. Volunteer for cross-functional projects.
  7. Take advantage of casual opportunities.

At the end of the workshop, Kim asked the audience to turn to their tables one last time and share what the takeaway from the workshop was. Many said, “I feel more confident”, one said, “you might think you’re under the radar but you never really are, you just think that”.

A common theme in this workshop seemed like the majority of the audience felt hesitant to self-promote in fear of negative perception in the workplace. But after the 2-hour workshop of verbalizing one’s strength and sharing stories, the audience appeared ever so vibrant and confident.

So perhaps it’s not that we don’t know how to self-promote but simply need to remind ourselves why we should.

After all, we’re all rockstars and must never shy away from that spotlight because we deserve it.

Do you want more? Here are some resources and follow-up notes from the event!

Using Self-Promotion to Advance Your Career Slides 
Using Self-Promotion to Advance Your Career Post- Event Worksheet

Our next event is on March 7th, Thursday with Elaine Blais on 3 Secrets to a Kickass Life. We look forward to seeing you there!

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