Girls in ICT Day: Reflecting on the IT for SHE Mentor Program

Today, along with ITU member states around the world, Ericsson celebrates International Girls in ICT Day. As we do each year, we are observing the day by hosting events and activities for young women ranging from primary school to university.

Girls in ICT Day
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And, we’re encouraging girls around the world to submit new ideas to change the future of education through the Girls Who Innovate competition, which is open for entries until May 25.

But, encouraging girls to pursue interests in Information Communication Technology, STEM and innovation is not something that we only focus on during the month of April. Our employees are passionate about ensuring that future generations of employees in the ICT industry are diverse, informed and excited.

Today, we share a past blog from the IT for SHE mentor program, which opens again in May 2018.

The IT for SHE program (from a blog published in December 2017):

In the beginning of 2017, together with few colleagues from Ericsson, I decided to join IT for SHE program as a mentor. The program aims to increase the participation of women in the high tech industry and this is done via a one-to-one mentoring relationship. You can read more about the program on its website, although you might have some trouble if you do not know Polish.

Ericsson has been part of the program in previous editions as well, but for me it was the first time. Being part of IT for SHE is fun, gives an opportunity to meet people from other ICT companies, share knowledge with them, and most of all makes you practice some useful skills.

What are the key takeaways from this experience for me and my mentee, Magdalena, so far? Read below interview by my colleague Katarzyna, to find out from two perspectives.

IT for SHE – what’s in it for me?

Girls in ICT Day

Katarzyna: Why did you join IT for SHE project? What made you decide to participate?

Joanna: I am usually very eager to participate in any activity that gives me new experience – you do not have to convince me twice. I perceived this one as a good chance to improve my mentoring and coaching skills. It was also a chance to meet new people from the project – from Ericsson Poland, from HR Warsaw, and also from other companies.

I perceive myself as a motivating person with good energy that I can use to empower other people. Why not use that in a more professional way for the benefit of the company?

Magdalena: I’ve heard about the project IT for SHE from my colleague, who has participated in a similar project a few years ago and was very satisfied. She has gained more self-confidence with her professional life and maintains contact with her mentor until this day. I was insecure with the IT industry, so this project was a perfect opportunity for me.

Katarzyna: What exactly is it about? How does it work?

Magdalena: How exactly the cooperation between mentor and mentee looks like depends on what they decide. Asia and I decided to talk about work, decisions concerning work life and other topics. The program doesn’t limit you with strict rules – the way we cooperate depends mostly on our initiative and needs.

Joanna: As Magda says, it is very much on us to decide how we use this relationship. When it comes to rules, we are expected to meet at least once a month and participate in two events, opening and closing. It’s mentoring, so what matters the most is the relationship, trust and openness.

Katarzyna: And what’s in it for you? Can you see any benefits from taking part in the project?

Magdalena: Of course! Joanna, as the more experienced, allowed me to look at a few issues related to the IT industry from another perspective. She not only presented her own point of view but asked more people about their experiences and their opinions, which helped me a lot. I had the possibility to consult my opinions and wasn’t alone with my decisions.

Joanna: I have a great chance to practice some mentoring and coaching tools on my mentee. First of all I focus on listening, since Magda’s perspective on the subject we are working on is different than mine. The point is not to give solutions or advice, like we all tend to when we have experience and authority. It is much more about helping Magda broaden her perspective and decide for herself. This is very empowering and I want to do it…

Katarzyna: What are your plans for the next few months?

Joanna: We are working on a particular problem I want to help Magda to solve. In two weeks Magda is also visiting me in Krakow office, so I will show her how we work at Ericsson. In February we officially end our cooperation by presenting results of it during the ‘IT for SHE’ closing event, but who knows, we might want to continue our relationship in a less formal way. Magda is a skating instructor – maybe she can teach me a bit?

Magdalena: Sure! And I hope Joanna will tell me more about triathlon and in the future we will start together. I can’t wait to see Ericsson, meet people and learn more about the company and its culture. I hope that our meeting in February won’t be the last one.

Learn more about Ericsson’s commitment to Girls in ICT and diversity and inclusion by clicking here.

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