“The best thing I’ve ever done”
In honor of the week around International Women’s Day, Sogeti's Therese Sinter shares a concrete action, available for all of us with a few or many years of work experience, to drive gender balance and embrace equity. Getting curious? Then continue reading.
I have since forever been passionate about gender balance and have my entire career engaged myself into initiatives to drive equality and gender balance. Honestly, I get discouraged sometimes as progress is slow. But I never admit defeat, nor give up. It is not in my nature. For the last 22 years I have worked in the IT/Tech sector in Sweden, where the percentage of women has gone from 20% to up to 30% and is now currently on 28%. So, some progress, but also backlashes. Sometimes it’s easy to get sad, frustrated or even angry, but then I remember... I pick up my golden nuggets – my female adepts that I have had the privilege to mentor.
But mentorship, isn’t it hard to get started and time-consuming? Well, no, not necessarily.
My own personal mentorship journey started many years ago. I got a mentor as I was selected to participate in a national gender balance-oriented mentorship initiative run by IT- and Telekomföretagen, nowadays Tech Sweden, a member organization for companies of all sizes within the tech sector. The thing that still pops up in my mind when I think back is the feeling of luxury time – set aside just for me – with an experienced person really listening to me, my thoughts, challenging me and helping me.
Fast and furious
So, when I got to know an equally gender balance passionata, Astrid Hettinger, at that time the Head of Swedish female and non-binary network DataTjej, mentorship climbed to the top of my agenda again. I had invited her to speak at a national #addher event (one of Sweden’s largest networks for women in IT/Tech that I have been heading from the start) and directly after the event we started talking about how our two networks #addher and DataTjej could collaborate more to drive gender balance. Astrid immediately stated – My members want mentors! One meeting later we had it all figured out. We were about to embark on a journey together and start a joint mentorship initiative.
But mentorship initiatives are hard to run, some people say. Agree. But Astrid and I wanted to move forward quickly and create value fast for our network members. So, we had this pragmatic approach where we decided that we would offer the mentorship initiative to the members of our two networks, take on only to match applying adepts and mentors, and finally provide them with a simple mentoring guide (free download available below). Tip of the day! This is something any networks with a similar passion can do or any organization wanting to provide mentorship – fast – in a pragmatic and manageable way.
This was in 2018 and the 10th round of our initiative named Match and Go is currently running. Since the launch we have matched close to 3,000 participants. And of course, I have personally entered the initiative as a mentor.
Marina Tallberg and Sofi Glas (standing on each side of me in the image above) are two of several adepts that I have had the privilege to mentor through Match and Go. Each of my adepts, new to the IT/Tech sector, so inspiring, forward-leaning and all eager to get to work – fast.
To be their mentor has been fundamentally rewarding. Being able to generously give back and support another woman on her journey truly fills your soul with joy and you also learn a lot from your adept. I can more than highly recommend it. It is the best thing I have ever done. The Match and Go initiative Astrid and I created, involves one meeting a month for 5 months (each Match and Go round runs for that period), physically, if possible, but online works fine too, better than I originally thought. If my adepts need me, I am there for them after the five months. Friends forever!
For the adept it is of course also a goldmine, and true support and as many states allowing them to develop twice as fast, providing them with concrete tips and tricks, inspiration, self-leadership skills and courage.
You can do it!
So, are you up to supporting gender balance in the IT/Tech sector in a concrete way – personally? Look out for the next Match and Go round (since the 10th round also inviting men to be mentors to applying female adepts) or why not take on a new female colleague by mentoring her and provide her with a kickstart into our amazing, forward-leaning sector. You can personally, truly, make a difference and fuel yourself with new energy to continue to relentlessly contribute to moving the dial on the gender balance side. What are you waiting for?
Download the Match and Go mentorship guide in Swedish here.
- Therese SinterNational #addher Driver, Sweden
+46 70 361 46 21
Therese SinterNational #addher Driver, Sweden
+46 70 361 46 21