Written by Katie Murphy
On February 25th, WISE Boston held its second event of the year - Speed Mentoring Roundtables - and transformed our typically bustling, well-attended and in-person event into a fully virtual extravaganza! Leveraging Airmeet, an online platform built for these types of virtual events, we were able to host the event with as much excitement and the same format as we’ve done in the past. Mentees were assigned to a table and mentors rotated through every couple minutes with a new question in hand. It did feel a little different this year - I didn’t have the same rush of adrenaline from hearing 100+ other women and professionals chatting and networking in a restaurant (remember those?), but I was still excited with each question and rotation of the mentors. The questions this year were also well adapted to the times, for example: “How do you suggest making an impression either starting a new job or in your current job during the remote COVID environment?”
Here are a few takeaways I took from the event:
Looking for something new:
With all of the changes in 2020, there was open and frank discussions around the challenges people were facing in their careers. From furloughs and layoffs to unrequited promotions or responsibilities, people were wondering how to tackle this issue. The resounding advice we heard from mentors across tables was to find experience or jobs even if they weren’t 100% perfect and look at it as an opportunity to apply part of that experience to your next job - essentially that every job or project is a stepping stone to somewhere.
New platforms for our WFH life:
There were some great tips and new platforms that people shared which I hadn’t heard of yet. For example - those of you looking to do even MORE networking (possibly to shift careers or just expand your network) is an AI-based service called Lunch club which matches you with someone in a field you are looking for, and you have a virtual lunch together! Or if you are looking to stand out with your resume, people discussed using Canva for designing a more unique resume/cover letter. The one I’m most excited to explore is called Donut for connecting with teams. It looks like a fun way to bring back that water cooler/catch you in the hallway for a quick conversation.
Classic Networking and Mentorship tips:
I don’t know about you, but a year into this remote work life and I’ve noticed that my mentoring and menteeing relationships have definitely taken a back seat as other things have taken priority. At our table, we discussed the difficulty of asking for that time from our mentors when we know everyone is so busy, but that, (similar to how you would in a non-remote setting), having a pointed topic or question to ask your mentor is the best way to make good use of that time when you do get it. And of course, persistence is key! You don't always need a reason to reach out to a contact, but regular check ins help keep you top of mind.
Additionally, Rachel and Brenda (our hosts for the evening) shared how the second year of WISE Within is now accepting applications! The national signature program of WISE, WISE Within is an integrated, guided mentoring program with a proven track record of providing valuable career resources. WISE Within offers a truly unique opportunity to accelerate professional development by connecting mid-level professional women to senior executives through facilitated group sessions, personal one-to-one mentoring and national online resources. You can apply to be a mentor or a mentee here (must be a WISE member in order to apply, not everyone will be accepted/matched). For people looking to network or develop a meaningful mentor relationship, this would be a great way to do that!
Overall, it was a great event perhaps made even better through our remote status - we were able to clearly hear everyone at our table and it was easy to get a drink! I’m staying true to my New Years Resolution of doing something for my career every month, and I’m looking forward to the next event in March - Power Play! More details will be coming soon on that one.