The Dell Women in IT Executive Mentoring (WITEM™) is a 12-month mentoring and coaching program for talented Executive Level 2 (EL2) women in the APS. Past WITEM™ mentee Sarah Polhill (Chief Information Officer, ACCC), shares her experience as a mentor, and her desire to give back to the program.
Why I became a mentor
I became a WITEM™ mentor after being a mentee. Having learned a lot through the formal training, activities with other mentees and from my mentor, I also wanted to encourage and support women working in IT.
As a mentor, I bring my enthusiasm for people and technology, and a wide range of insights and experiences, having worked in the IT industry for 20 years.
My experience as a mentor
It has been absolutely great being a mentor on WITEM™. I participated in the program for 3 years and had 3 mentees during that time. One of the main benefits was learning about different challenges and environments. Listening to other’s experiences, I found that the conversations have challenged me in different ways to reflect on my work, career path, goals and leadership style. I’ve also become aware of the many different roles and opportunities working in IT.
The role of WITEM™
It’s really important for programs like WITEM™ to exist. They provide opportunities for people to build networks, and learn from each other. There is always a new process, methodology or technology.
Mentoring can help participants become more engaged in their career path.
Programs such as WITEM™ help mentees gain a different perspective on a challenge they might be facing. WITEM™ specifically provides opportunities for women in IT executive positions to:
- further develop their career
- set and achieve career goals
- have a professional support person to talk to outside of your immediate work environment
- ask for advice on resolving a challenge they might be facing.
Final thoughts and advice
I would say to women who are looking to progress their APS digital career, to never stop learning. Take the risk – whether it is speaking up or stepping forward or trying a new idea.
My advice to new WITEM™ participants is to prepare for the conversations. Have questions, goals or challenges you want to discuss. Be patient. Sometimes it can take 3 meetings before the relationship starts to gain momentum. Book meetings at the start of the program and make sure that it is a non-negotiable time in the calendar.
I would encourage people to be mentors. It is a great opportunity to meet and hear from someone who may see things differently, and have different experiences. I would also encourage people to become mentees, so they can expand their knowledge and skills, gain valuable advice from an experienced person, and build their professional networks.