Girlboss edge mentor

September 2020

I was approached by GirlBoss to be a GirlBoss Edge Mentor, and I thought it was a great opportunity to give back to the kōtiro of today.

I was paired with two separate young women from different parts of Aotearoa, we did a quick online call, and I followed up with some resources that I found.

I have to admit, real-life hit quite hard (well I guess September 2020 was at the end of that first wave of the pandemic, and then we dived right into 2021, thinking that it was all going to be over, and, hello, new variant!), and I didn’t think to keep in touch.

I don’t feel that I mentored the kōtiro, but I hope I gave them food for thought. The system was set up for quite a quick meetup, and there was no extra encouragement to keep in touch…

I would say that the things I learnt from this process:

  1. Everyone most definitely has imposter syndrome, even when you have been shoulder tapped to be a mentor 🙂
  2. You forget how much you have learnt over time. In my head, I still imagine myself as that unsure young kōtiro… just finishing high school. It’s a good time to reflect on yourself, when you’re forced to pass on knowlege or experience.
  3. It’s always best to be honest. If you don’t know, or you can’t help. Tell them. Kids at the beginning of their journey are full of hope, don’t squash that.

If I was asked again today, I would most definitely do it again. I might go into it with a more solid plan to continue the relationship, to have planned follow-ups, or check-ins.

EDIT (March 2022)

I reached out to the two kōtiro and I got back really awesome news! I thought I’d share it, anonymised here, it’s great to feel that you’ve made a difference, no matter how small.

email text: Hey Vivian,
Yes I remember who you are!!
I have just started my 1st year at BLANK, studying engineering. I am aiming towards studying Mechatronics as my discipline (but that may change before the end of the year). 
At the moment, I am still finding a routine, but I’m settling well into uni life :)
I have actually just been appointed as a fresher rep for the Women in Tech Society which I’m super excited about!!
How are you?
email text: I'm now a computer science major at the BLANK with thoughts of specializing in data science. I'm now looking for a part time job to help cover my expenses, but everything is going well so far. I'm having a great time learning coding and various programming languages. I'm also interested in remote work because it seems to be the most convenient option, especially given my university schedule.

I'm happy you remember me. You were such a huge influence to me, especially in the world of technology. I was worried about going to Uni in compsci as a girl with no coding/computer background, but then I remembered you telling me that it doesn't matter if I'm a girl, inexperienced, or ignorant as long as I enjoy it. So you were extremely helpful in sorting out my thoughts and finally trying out what I'd been wanting and I really thank you for that.

Anyway, I'd like to stay in touch with you and possibly learn more about tech career opportunities for students.