I was on cloud 91/2 last week at the Diversity Women's Leadership Conference conference put on Diversity Woman Magazine at the Grand Floridian (heaven, two thumbs up!). It had heart, some of America's top Diversity Leaders, 1:1 coaching, and great content. A common theme was how to recruit and retain top STEM talent, especially women and minorities. There was also a new recognition with many leaders that STEM is a new perspective on Diversity and we need more Diversity in STEM.
We will see global diversity in who possesses next generation capabilities (employability skills, digital fluency, and innovation excellence) for tomorrow's global STEM jobs? This demand side approach (what companies need- the jobs) + new capabilities (employability skills) = STEM 2.0
Mentoring has a key role to play on moving the needle for girls & young women professionally and we need to much more to recruit, onboard and retain diverse STEM talent. Most of the companies at the conference advocated heavily for formal and informal mentoring within their corporations. One challenge in the informal space was an inability to put metrics and outcomes behind it. Remember, you get what you measure. Mentoring increases employee satisfaction and retention. The Business Case for Mentoring by our friends at Chronus shares a lot of good datapoints. For example, note the huge increase in mentor and mentee retention at Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle) 2006 case study as well as who got salary increases and promotions
To take a step back...
Mentor 1.0 over the past several decades was:
- How is your home life?
- Let's discuss thoughts on career life balance
- College and application help
- Let's work together on your resume
- Let's go to a movie or shoot some hoops
There is much value in Mentoring 1.0 and the care and support behind it.
The difference is Mentor 2.0 includes a distinct skills-based focus and sponsorship component* ie.:
- Here are the specific skills you will need to make it in the 21st century economy
- Let's discuss job opportunities in various geographies and what they pay (women in STEM make 92 cents on a dollar for example of what men make vs. other careers that pay 77 cents on a dollar)
- Let's discuss what type of education and experience you will need to get a good job or advance in your career
- Let's connect you with opportunity (FIRST robotics competition, Python coding class, Sit down with CEO of a IT firm and create an opportunity to shadow her, Visit a laboratory ...)
- Let's have lunch with the SVP at XYZ company and focus on three things we want to learn about his/her professional path and work.
- Let's see if we can get you a summer internship ( Did you know according to Gallup only 4.5% of high school students were in Summer internships last year? )
- Have you set up a Linkedin page? Let's take an online networking class, together
- Let's discuss two key books for young women over Sushi and blue sparkly pedicures: The Confidence Code and Executive Presence
* Put simply, Mentor 2.0 will have a key role in on-boarding and retaining a diverse workforce as we combine skills-based Mentoring and most ideally Sponsorship.
A mentor talks to you, listens and guides you.
A sponsor talks about you. Your sponsor (who respects you highly and knows exactly what your capable of) champions you for opportunity (internships, jobs, promotions, university entrance).
Sylvia Ann Hewlett's CTI research showed us that men are 46% more likely to have a sponsor. Women in STEM often also share they have male sponsors that truly helped them in their careers and opened doors.
Women will likely feel more comfortable starting as a mentor. Then with a growing good relationship and rapport, move it to a Mentor 2.0 relationship, and then to Sponsorship (or helping find a sponsor through advocacy of your mentee). This Mentor 2.0 strategy will dramatically expedite a diverse STEM workforce with both mentor and mentee high-fiving.
But don't get all Geico- caddywhompus with concerns. Start with just 2 hours a month, 20 hours a year with your mentee and request your mentee pay-it-forward too.
Julie Kantor is Chief Partnership Officer of STEMconnector and Million Women Mentors. 172,000 pledges have been made since January 2014 to mentor girls and young women in STEM.