Networking and Mentoring Women in Technology

Our blog delves into the pivotal role women play in shaping the tech industry, by mentoring women in technology, and empowering others.

Table of Content

    Networking and mentoring for women in technology is so important. Successful networking goes beyond just connecting with lots of people: it’s about building a community to share ideas, help solve problems, and to create opportunities for one another. Likewise mentoring can foster the empowerment and resilience needed to create a more diverse, high-performing tech industry.

    Networking Tips

    There are so many in person and virtual networking opportunities for women in technology.  “Networking events can be challenging, especially for introverts, but get in there, listen, talk to people and focus on making at least one meaningful connection,” says Lorna Link, Velosio’s director, best practices & process improvement. “Find a common interest with someone and remember that detail. It doesn’t have to be work related, can be personal too,” continues Lorna. She makes it a point to reach out to people in her network weekly with a quick text asking a meaningful question like how a project went or how their dog is. Then, when an opportunity comes up, they will remember her. “Networking played a crucial role in my being hired at Velosio,” says Lorna. “I had a 10-year working relationship with someone at Velosio, and also a mentor who had a connection at Velosio, which I leveraged,” says Lorna. This solidified her being hired at Velosio and gave the leadership team confidence that she would follow through on the skills she presented.

    At women’s-only technology events, Lorna reports that women let their guard down a little more and she finds it’s easier to get to know each other. “At these events, smart, driven women will get to know you on a personal level, and you walk away feeling like you really connected, and want to follow their career,” says Lorna.

    Velosio has a women’s-only Teams channel at Velosio, which fosters connections between Velosio’s female employees. “The connections we make on the channel makes me feel tighter with my colleagues, and makes me want to share more with them,” says Lorna. “We can remember things our coworkers said on the channel and bring it up on a call, and it makes us feel more connected,” says Lorna. In a hybrid work environment, it’s harder than ever to form connections, making these small connections even more important.

    Mentoring Women in Technology

    We all have challenges, failures, and the need for encouragement, but often we are hesitant to reach out to others for help. It can be especially hard for women to engage others to help advance their career.

    Lorna talks about mentoring as a two-way activity. She reaches up to mentors, but also reaches back to mentor other women coming up in the industry. “It’s important to receive and give advice in both directions,” says Lorna. It’s this mindset of reciprocity that strengthens relationships: promoting others’ goals through referrals and connections—knowing that other members are doing the same for you—can provide the confidence and push women need to achieve professional success.

    “There are not a lot of women in technology, but I was fortunate early in my career to work for a woman who changed my life,” says Jennifer Phoenix, practice director, Dynamics BC Enterprise for Velosio. “She believed in me and helped me feel more confident about what I was bringing to the table. She boosted my confidence and aptitude for tech and found ways for me to leverage my technology skillset in a non-tech former career,” continues Jennifer.

    Jennifer also worked for a women-owned technology firm and was inspired by her leadership. When asked what qualities a great female mentor possess, Jennifer says: honesty, trustworthiness, compassion, patience, understanding, and encouragement. “It’s important to find a mentor who’s a strong advocate for women,” says Jennifer. “One who offers encouragement for mentees to trust themselves and find their own path, and not just project their own experience onto them,” continues Jennifer. “The best mentors support, encourage and advocate for other women,” says Jennifer. “Don’t be afraid of competition – guide women to surpass you to propel you into the future – that’s a true mentor,” adds Jennifer.

    How Mentors can help Address the Pay Gap

    Latest estimates showed that the unadjusted gender pay gap in the technology sector in 2023 is in the range of 28-30%, while for junior management, it is 8-10%.

    “As female mentors we should help to ensure women receive equitable pay and go to the mat for them if needed,” says Jennifer. “It’s also important to encourage other women to advocate for themselves and find the strength to recognize value in themselves. I think there’s inherent doubt projected onto women that they don’t have the ability to do what male counterparts can do. As a result, some women work harder and longer hours than men to prove themselves. They need to trust that they are capable,” continues Jennifer.

    A widely reported statistic suggests that women are less likely to apply for a job unless they feel they meet 100% of the qualifications, while men are comfortable applying when they meet around 60%. This phenomenon contributes to the gender gap in the workforce and limits women’s opportunities for career growth. “I encourage female coworkers to go for the job they want even if you don’t meet 100% of the criteria,” says Jennifer. You are worthy of the job, and a ‘no’ isn’t a failure – it’s an opportunity to learn and grow – don’t take rejection personally,” adds Jennifer.

    Conclusion

    Velosio, a technology partner specializing in cloud software solutions for SMB and emerging enterprises, promotes diversity and women in technology throughout the organization. Velosio was recognized by Comparably for “Best Culture for Women” and “Best Company for Diversity,” based on feedback from Velosio employees. “I am proud of the culture we’ve built and humbled by the feedback from our team that led to our receiving awards for culture and fairness,” Joe Longo, Velosio president and CEO observes, “Velosio has always prided ourselves on our ability to innovate, understand our clients’ needs and provide guidance. You simply cannot do that successfully without the perspective and expertise that comes from a diverse group of individuals aligned around common goals,” adds Longo.

    Interested in joining our proudly diverse team? Check out our current job listings here.