Do you and your mentor define the word the same way?

Want to know the definition of “mentor”? I looked it up.

Men·tor – ˈmenˌtôr,ˈmenˌtər/
noun
1.
an experienced and trusted adviser.
“he was her friend and mentor until his death in 1915”
synonyms: adviser, guide, guru, counselor, consultant; confidant(e)
“his political mentors”
verb
1.
advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague).

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hear someone talking about being a mentor, getting a mentor, or just exploring the whole idea of mentorship. I’ve said this on many occasions, but I don’t think we all have the same meaning for a mentor. When I asked people what a mentor does, here’s what they said:

  • Helps me get ahead in my career/advocates for me.
  • Shares their expertise in a particular subject.
  • Introduces me to people who can help me.
  • Helps me work through challenges in my workplace.
  • Advises me on how to maximise my career path.
  • Is someone who can empathise with me when I need someone to listen.
  • Someone who helps me figure out what I need to do to level up in my career.

Continue reading “Do you and your mentor define the word the same way?”

Women & VC Funding: Questions Beyond the Headline

Photo by Kaboompics // Karolina from Pexels 

Over the last week or so there has been a flurry of articles about the announcement from PitchBook and Fortune that female founders got 2% of Venture Capital in 2017. The article points out the silver lining that dollars invested was up by a whopping (note the sarcasm here) $500,000 from last year. Read that again: Female founders got TWO PERCENT of VC in 2017. This is nowhere close to the almost 70% of capital given to male-founded companies. While an attention-getting headline, I don’t think this actually tells me anything other than people can add.

Now before you start going there, this is not a rant (yet) about the lack of funding for female lead startups. This particular rant is about the math and the metrics behind the story and the headlines it created. Continue reading “Women & VC Funding: Questions Beyond the Headline”

Which Company Would You Want to Work For?

Let me just start by saying I read a lot of articles about people development, leadership, what to do with your resume, what not to do with your resume, questions should you ask potential candidates, what should a candidate do to prep for an interview….the list goes on.

Why all this reading? It’s a little like school for me. It’s the “research and development” part of my work that gives me the inspiration for thoughtful observations on how to navigate the complicated world called work.

I am inspired by what I read quite often. More often than not I’m inspired by something that’s connected to something else I read. (That’s that human “thinking” brain I keep talking about, the one that’s not a robot that connects disparate ideas. But I digress. The conversation about our non-robotness is a conversation for another day.)

This is not about me and my reading habits. It’s about you. Specifically, a question I have for you. But all that chatter is to set up the question. Let me set up the scenarios … Continue reading “Which Company Would You Want to Work For?”

Maybe the question is “what should you do?” not “what could you do?”

Recent news touts Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that they’re changing the newsfeed algorithm to “.. focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions,” a focus, they say, on the community. The New York Times in an interview last Thursday dug a little deeper. Zuckerberg was quoted, “It’s important to me that when Max and August grow up that they feel like what their father built was good for the world,”

You know what else I noticed? Facebook’s stock plummeted 5% overnight.

Imagine with me that you’re a new entrepreneur; an entrepreneur who’s raised capital for a company to grow and “change the world.” Investors expect a return. Imagine for a second you, like Zuckerberg, have decided that your product might be putting profit over people. Imagine for a second your product was a benefit to today’s consumer but could jeopardize their safety, security in the future. (Just watch any episode of Black Mirror , and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.) Because we are bumping up to a technical future where almost anything we want to build we probably can.

All this imagining raises the question: Is our adherence revenue and profit over mission and values point us towards a future we don’t intend? Continue reading “Maybe the question is “what should you do?” not “what could you do?””

Bespoke Bubbles

Lessons in Language and Individuality

Imagine for a moment that you’re invited to discuss with a small group of thought leaders the idea of narrative in the 21st Century. In the invitation informs you that you will give up an entire weekend, there is no agenda, and no other participants are known. The only thing you do know is that the host is this intriguing gentleman whom you’ve had some very thought-provoking conversations with before.

Would you say yes?

Of course, I said yes. Boy, I’m glad I did! Whom I met, what I learned, and my curiosity about what will manifest is still making me ponder almost a week later.

As the other 11 thinkers introduced themselves, I must admit that my IBSC (itty bitty shitty committee) screamed at the top of its lungs. These were people doing tremendous things on a massive scale. I can’t share the invite list, but let’s just say we had social activism, technology, military, politics, global economics, and environmentalism covered. And there I was with my platform of why people need to be able to articulate why they’re awesome.

I won’t go into a long diatribe about the ridiculousness of negative self-talk. We all know that conversation.

Once I got past myself, I listened, I absorbed, I learned. Continue reading “Bespoke Bubbles”

Do you see a new diversity gap widening in front of you?

I sent the following email to a couple of respected male advisors this past week. I asked these gentlemen, leaders in our industry, specifically as I was curious as to their response.

“So of course I’m up to shenanigans as always and would love your feedback/thoughts on the below. As always it’s surrounding my desire to help elevate women. I’m trying to figure out if I’m not seeing reality because I’m in a bit of a bubble, or if others are seeing the same thing I’m seeing.

So what am I seeing?

There’s a whole new set of technology exploding: Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, Machine Learning, AI, VR, 3D printing, and the list goes on. These innovations are creating the same wild and out-there conversations I heard back in the mid-90’s when the internet was first being used in the mainstream marketplaces.

What I experienced in the 90’s, when it came to women and their opportunity to be part of the “building” discussion, is happening again today. There aren’t many women in the room. And because (most) women are not learning about, and discussing, and playing with, these new technologies they’re not part of the conversation.

As they’re not part of the conversation, they’re not part of the initial building phases. I’m worried that this will mean another round of technologies built without the diverse perspective of women. And from this, industry’s goal to have more women be part of the leadership team will be kneecapped again. There’s a new gap.

Is it me? Or are you seeing this too?

Curious as always, Jo.” Continue reading “Do you see a new diversity gap widening in front of you?”