Our mentoring program - the first batch - interview with Camila

August 12, 2020

Here are some of the biggest changes since the start of our mentoring program

Since the launch of our mentoring program at the beginning of this year, a lot of things have changed. During the past seven months, 17 mentors and mentees have found each other with the help of our mentoring program.

Started by Camila Kuhn, IT project lead for Global Applications at Beiersdorf and volunteer at moinworld, the two main objectives of the program are to have a positive impact on the lives of the participants, and to advance women’s careers in the field of technology / IT.

Helping each other

Camila Kuhn, who has already gathered a lot of experience as a mentor in Brazil, highlighted that mentoring is an inspirational relationship based on trust and mutual respect which benefits both parties. “In many cases having a conversation with someone can open the door for new thinking and ideas.” Structure of the program To encourage more women to transition to an IT-related career, moinworld offers mentoring classes which focus on teaching coding languages. After completing the programming classes, the mentees have the opportunity to work on a small project alongside former moinworld programming students, as well as a mentor who will assist them. This will help to extend one’s knowledge and skillset. When mistakes are made, they will be crucial to give hints on what to do when you are stuck. Group tech mentoring can also be combined with the 1:1 mentortrack, focused on personal development.

Steps forward

Our first pilot of the mentoring program is now almost finished. We asked Camila, who herself is a mentor in both Hamburg and Brazil, to tell us about the progress that has been made and how we will continue.

How are the pairs doing?

From all the feedback I received, the people are very satisfied. Recently, I had a nice conversation with a mentor, she was paired up with a woman in her 50s who is trying to re-enter the tech industry. She told me that she had a completely different idea of what it takes to be a mentor. Still, it’s going very well. It does not necessarily have to be about tech all the time, rather, for example, how you can get yourself settled in Germany or how you can look out for jobs. It might be a little bit different from what she thought but yet, she feels like she is helping her mentee quite a lot. They have built a really good relationship which is basically the feedback I got from the majority of people so far. Everyone seems to be content.

What do you think people value the most about the mentorship program?

According to what I’ve heard during the last session, it is the quality and the right matching of mentor and mentee. It’s about the mentor having a clear understanding of what the other person is looking for and thus having the chance to support them on that aim. For instance, if someone is seeking a position as a product owner, it might be ideal to match them with a mentor who is working as product owner. So having this specialized program helps people to achieve their individual goals. The mentors are also very well-prepared and committed to their task of helping people to further develop.

With our first batch of pairings coming to an end, what are the lessons we have learned?

When we started the mentoring program, we started in a different environment and had to adapt very quickly. We had to learn how to make the program more personal, and especially with COVID-19, it brought another challenge because the situation changed so drastically. The original plan was to have 30 minutes to 1 hour get-togethers before the meet-ups but then we had to hold the meetings virtually. However, when we began to do the monthly gatherings, it still brought people together and they started to connect with each other.

It’s also not always about providing material but rather to have a meaningful conversation and to understand each other. The other step is that both parties should learn from one another as well. That we can definitely take away for the next batch: Keep the connection and network going, even after the mentorship has completed, via Slack for example.

Does the digital format work?

It depends. For example, in Brazil, I have been volunteering as a mentor for the past three years and we always held everything online which worked well. With my mentee Alex, who lives in Hamburg as well, I met up for coffee last Friday and of course, it is a quite different experience to see someone face-to-face than on the internet. We had people applying for the mentoring program from outside of Hamburg, even outside of Germany. The positive aspect about the current COVID-19 situation is that we got presented the new opportunity to reach more people, beyond locals from Hamburg.

What is your personal motivation behind the mentoring program?

It gives me joy to see people succeed. If you lead a mentoring program or have the platform to provide a concept like this, it makes one very happy to see the people’s progress and them able to achieve their goals. I, myself, had many mentors during my earlier days and they helped me quite a lot. So, it’s also in the sense of giving back but mostly it is about the joy of watching people, especially women, move forward.

What does it take to join as a mentor or mentee?

The willingness to learn and being open to give and receive feedback are the most important things. Another key aspect is related to time commitment. Please check below for further criteria.

For mentors:

For group code mentoring:

You should be a software developer Time commitment: at least 1 hour per week for at least 1 month Passionate about helping people

For 1:1 general mentoring / personal development:

Working experience: 3 years in an IT-related field/industry. Time commitment: at least 1 hour per month for 6 months. Passionate about helping people.

For mentees:

Be a member of the moinworld community

  • Adults: 70 Euros per year
  • Teenagers up to the age of twenty: 30 Euros per year

If you do not have the financial means to become a member, please contact us at moin@moinworld.de. / mentoring@moinworld.de

Interested?

Apply today. A moinworld member will get in touch with you for the next steps within 1 week.

Do you have any questions? Get in touch with us at mentoring@moinworld.de.

We will also have a Meetup celebrating the ending of our first mentors and mentees batch in September. Everybody is welcome to join and listen to some of the success stories. Just follow our events!