The first Student to Stemette (@StudentStemette) webinar took place on the 18th of June at 6pm via Any Meeting. Leading the webinar were Andrew, mentoring stemette and coordinator for the Student to Stemette project, Anne-Marie head stemette and founder of the organisation (@Stemettes) and Andrea Mason from Edit development.
First Anne-Marie started by explaining the overall role of the Stemettes is to 'inspire females into STEM'. They do great work in the form of hackathons, panel events and mentoring schemes such as this, and aim to equip girls with the tools necessary for a successful career. Next she moved on to explain what we could expect from the Student to Stemette programme.
There are two strands to this, the first is mentoring. Mentoring will run for four months, starting from the launch event in London at Deutsche Bank on the 24th of June. At the event there will be business people from all areas of STEM speaking and then the chance to meet and network with potential mentors, find out what they do, why they enjoy their job, challenges they face and what you could learn by working with them. The other strand is webinars, there will be seven which will all be open (so anyone can attend!) and recorded. The webinars will cover a range of topics relevant to getting a job in STEM and how to achieve the best you possibly can.
Through the programme there is also the opportunity for five girls to visit the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, which is taking place in Phoenix between the 8th and 11th of October. The conference will be the perfect chance to put into practice all of the material and skill sets that the monthly mentor meetings will have covered.
We were advised that commitment to the programme is key, it's important to take it seriously as the women mentors have given up their time voluntarily to get involved in the scheme. "Get to know your mentor, take their advice and ACT on it", its important to be flexible on meetings and crucially, stay in touch with your mentor. After each meeting there will be an evaluation form for both the mentor and mentee to fill in, ensuring the programme is working and being productive for both.
Next we moved on to a poll, what qualities are you looking for in a mentor? There were three options:
- Challenging, dynamic, efficient, conscientious
- Enthusiastic, extrovert, confident, cooperative
- Creative, discerning, dedicated, strategic
Most popular was the first option, but everyone is different and therefore will be looking for certain qualities and skills to help and guide them in the best possible way.
Andrea Mason from EDIT Development was next to speak about how to get the most out of the mentoring relationship. She started by telling us that there are rules to 'live your life by as a mentee', to ensure you can take away from the relationship everything you want to.
The first point was how to set up a personal relationship, it is almost a contract agreement between mentor and mentee therefore you need to know how to communicate, to explain what your goals are and hence get the most out of the experience. Also a big part of thing is willing to be open and honest, it is important to share successes and feel you are able to seek additional support and explain any difficulties you are having in a clear way.
Next she explained how we should respond to opportunity. Take the time and responsibility to respond, after mentor meetings don't come away with too much to do, stick to manageable tasks and finally 'do your homework' - putting in time and effort will help you to achieve the goals you set. Researching around topics will always help you to up skill, taking up every new training opportunity you get is a key way to gain sponsorship and she explained a sponsor as 'someone who is wearing a t-shirt with your name on' when you are not present, who puts you forward for tasks you are most suited for.
Andrea's final point was 'it takes two to tango', a mentor will introduce you to the community and network around them, it is vitally important to put in the time and effort to talk to people they may set up meetings for you with, and share the experience.
At this point, Anne-Marie introduced us to the 'What's in it for me?' part of the webinar. She started with personal development, Student to Stemette is the ideal chance to learn about and reflect on the strengths and weaknesses we have and also for clarity of purpose.
Industry knowledge is one thing our mentors will definitely have and pass on. One thing she said that really stuck with me was "There is no such thing as a career ladder. Career is a journey...career is a path" and used the example of Kim Hammond, Global Co-Head of Group Technology & Operations at Deutsche Bank now but also early in her career worked at Ford, so she has industry knowledge and experience. Mentors can pass on any difficulties they have had in the work place and how they got past it and overcame the problems which will be invaluable advice to have.
We were asked to think of and write down (or tweet) our goal for the programme, what we would like to learn and achieve. My goal was 'to gain experience and knowledge of the STEM industry and learn new skills from my mentor', I have no doubt that this will change and evolve as the programme goes on...but I can't wait to get started.
After this, Anne-Marie thanked everyone for joining the webinar and left us with one fantastic sentence "Fingers crossed this is going to change your life...and we'll see you as big Stemettes on the other side".
Thank you to Anne-Marie, Andrew and Andrea for an inspiring and motivating meeting and devising such a great programme!