Below are topics for mentor & mentee pairs to choose from for their 1:1 meetings. Mentor and mentees should work together to pick the topics most interesting and relevant to them. These resources are not exhaustive and are meant to be a starting place. If you have any suggestions for resources to include or feedback, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The podcast “How the Patriarchy Makes you Feel Like an Imposter” argues that the glass cliff reinforces feelings of imposter syndrome women experience. In what ways do you think imposter syndrome comes from the society we live in vs own our personal experiences?
How has your personal history—family, culture, education, work experience, etc. -- influenced your vision of yourself and your abilities?
Have you ever felt imposter syndrome? If yes, when?
How do you think this impacts your ability or commitment to advocate for yourself?
The article from Bestow gives some concrete examples of times where you might need to advocate for yourself at work. Have you ever had to advocate for yourself in one of these situations?
What do you think of the language Bestow suggested to use in the article? Do you think it’s helpful for women to consider editing their language, or hurtful? Why?
If this question interests you, listen to HBR Women at Work podcast: Sorry Not Sorry (May 2019)
You might not have time to listen to both podcasts, but if you do, definitely listen to this as well! Very funny and an easy listen. Battle Tactics for Your Sexist Workplace, podcast: The workplace was not designed for moms (September 2018)
In the Forbes article, Motherhood as a Startup Superpower, Shakir calls motherhood “an asset to be celebrated in founders and business leaders.” What, in your opinion, makes mothers valuable to a workplace?
How is this global pandemic impacting our understanding of work-life balance? What aspects do you hope will continue after the pandemic ends, and which are you ready to be done with?
“How working women can manage work-life balance during COVID-19” gives some tips for work-life balance during this challenging time. What tips do you feel like you’ve implemented in your own life? Are there any that could be helpful for you?
Male allyship: How can men fight for equitable workplaces?
The “Men as Allies” report mentions a Cambridge study where 70% of men in the University of Cambridge study believed that a more equal society between men and women would be better for the economy. Many of the problems women report, the study suggests, are caused by unconscious bias. Has participating in this program made you more aware of the unconscious bias that affects women?
Recognizing the length of the “Power of Talk” article, here is a screenshot from the conclusion. What is the role of managers to fight for gender equity in the workplace? What about the role of coworkers?
Check out the website if you don’t want to pick up that book. The Memo is a career development company providing tools, access, and a robust community for women of color and for the companies where they work.
Latina to Latina podcast: In this interview series, host Alicia Menendez talks to remarkable Latinas about making it, faking it, and everything in between.
How does the “Making Differences Matter” suggest companies move beyond just looking for “diversity”?
The NY Times article, “When You’re the Only Woman in the Room,” mentions a book called The Power of Onlyness. In her book, “the business thinker Nilofer Merchant argues that we are in an unprecedented moment when a person’s ‘only’ status — what she dubs their ‘onlyness’ — can be a lever to move the world. ‘We lose far too many ideas, not because the idea is deemed unworthy; but the person bringing that idea who’s deemed unworthy of being heard,’ she said.” What is the cost of being the only person of a certain identity? What’s the cost to you? To your team? To the company?
While I’m not sure what women being “ done with menstrual cycle variations” has to do with career success, I think this article will start some interesting conversation between you and your mentor. See discussion questions below.
Many times we hear that the first part of your life in your 20’s and early 30’s is “easier” because you aren’t tied to a city, family, or other obligations. However, in the article “Women’s Career Trajectories Can Be a Model for an Aging Workforce,” Wittenberg-Cox disagrees. She argues women later in their careers and life enjoy a stability that allows them to prioritize their voices and ambitions. She says, “Your 30s are not the make-or-break acceleration phase of all careers as we’ve been told. It’s just an early, building phase for all humans who want to parent. Keep learning and growing, but you don’t need to take the stretch job, move to China to earn a promotion, or forsake your kids for your job.” What do you think of Wittenberg-Cox’s advice?
Laura Berman Fortgang, in her TedTalk, talks about finding your yolk. She says, “[Career satisfaction] is not about what you do. It comes from who you get to be while you’re doing that job… The shell is what you do, but the yolk is who you get to be.” Think about the work you’ve done- could be either in a job or in school - that you’ve enjoyed. Why did you enjoy it? Who did you get to be while doing it?
Review UW’s career planning resources and discuss what you completed on pages 2-4.
In the podcast, Sisterhood is Critical to Racial Justice, Tina Opie reflects that the book Our Separate Ways, which was published in 2001, could have been published today. She says, “In the workplace, I still see groups of women that differ by race sharing information with each other, within their groups, but not necessarily a strong sense of solidarity across race. And that has always perplexed me. We perhaps get so busy, put our heads down — and as women, we often think that that’s what gets us ahead; you work hard, you put your head down, you focus, you move ahead — we don’t often look side by side and see that there are women who are going through very similar things as we are. They’re also going through different things. Do we understand those differences? How can we help each other?” What do you think about this observation that women, especially white women, could do more to build a coalition? In what ways have you seen sisterhood show up in your workplace or seen the absence of it?
What do your networks currently look like? Do you have mostly “just like me” convenience networks? Do you have valuable “weak ties” in your network?
It rode the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year, has sold 4.2 million copies worldwide (and still sells roughly 12,500 copies a month, in all formats), landed Ms. Sandberg on the covers of Time and Fortune and on TV shows like ”60 Minutes” and “Nightline,” and led to the creation of hundreds of “Lean In” circles, groups of women who meet on a regular basis to discuss and debate the principles of Ms. Sandberg’s book. Circles, said Rachel Thomas, president of LeanIn.org, “are one of the few places in the world where women can be overtly, unapologetically ambitious.”
For its legions of readers and circle attendees, “Lean In” has been a powerful mentor, one that has helped shape the arc of their careers. Senior executives, both male and female, say they have noticed a shift in attitude in recent years, particularly among their younger employees.
“Five or six years ago, younger job candidates would accept the first offer given to them,” said Eliot Kaplan, a former vice president of talent acquisition at Hearst Publishing and now a career coach. “Since then, 90 percent want to negotiate — usually money, but also vacation time, responsibilities and so forth. Some would actually say, ‘Sheryl Sandberg says I have to.’” (Lean In: Five Years Later, NY Times, 2018)
What do you think about Sandberg’s message, “Don’t leave until you leave,” the idea that you shouldn’t step back from work just because you anticipate being a mother?
In the Vox article, “I was a Sheryl Sandberg superfan. Then her “Lean In” advice failed me,” Katherine Goldstein states, “I now believe the greatest lie of Lean In is its underlying message that most companies and bosses are ultimately benevolent, that hard work is rewarded, that if women shed the straitjacket of self-doubt, a meritocratic world awaits us.” What do you think of Goldstein’s argument that women looking out for each other is “even more powerful” than just looking out for ourselves? Is there still a place for “looking out for ourselves” in the workplace?
What has changed in society since Sheryl Sandberg wrote Lean In? Do you think it’s still a helpful concept for women? Why or not?
A great, engaging interview with the first African American woman to own a billion dollar business and a good podcast to listen to while you’re cooking/doing something else in your day. If you don’t want to listen to the podcast, here is an article about her.
If you opened your own business, what would it be? What values would you want to prioritize?
Janice Bryant Howroyd says, “Jobs don't have futures -- people do. This industry is so rife with opportunity. It's the people who have the opportunity. You don't look to the company, you look to the industry and the people.” Do you agree or disagree?
Gloria Steinam said, “We didn’t have a way to get our arms around sexual harassment until we coined the term sexual harassment.” How do you think the knowledge of “covering” could help you manage a team? In what ways have you “covered” in positions you’ve held?
Would you agree that “fearless introspection, feedback seeking, and committed efforts to behavioral change for greater effectiveness and increased positive impact on others” are some of the most important aspects of managers? Are there other traits that you would add?
What did you think of the systematic steps the article “Anyone Can Learn to be a Better Leader” outlined? How do you think these steps could help you in a difficult management situation in the future?
Background for Discussion
Using Emotional Intelligence is a Woman Leader’s Secret Weapon - by LaRae Quy
What does it mean to be emotionally intelligent to you?
In the YouTube video, Spotlight on Leadership: Emotional Intelligence, it touched on the importance of being self-aware of your emotions and understanding why you are feeling them. What are some strategies you can use to help you be more self-aware in those moments of feeling strong emotions?
Empathy is the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others. Why is empathy an important part of emotional intelligence in the workplace?
In the video, I am Emotionally Intelligent, Prisha Nagpal talks about the importance of separating feelings from facts and accepting the situation for what it is rather than putting yourself and those around you into a negative emotional state. Why is this important? Is there a time or instance where you have or wished you have used these self-management strategies?
One of the key components of emotional intelligence is social awareness. The article, 5 Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership, touches on some techniques you can use in the workplace to improve your social awareness. What kind of workplace situations can these techniques be used? Is there a time where you have practiced these techniques?
Giving and Receiving Feedback
Background for Discussion - read before our meeting on November 19
We learned in reading the How Women Can Learn from Even Biased Feedback article that women are less likely to receive feedback tied to specific work outcomes. What strategies have you found effective in addressing gender bias in feedback processes?
To be really great at feedback you have to get it, give it, and encourage it. All of those things feel weird to do at first, but there are some easy things you can do to make them feel much more natural. As a manager who wants to start introducing Radical Candor on your team, it was suggested that you start by asking for feedback from your team. Could you share some tips for managers who want to get feedback from their teams and peers?
In the Three Tips for Women To Close The Feedback Gap article, we learned about Lead the conversation; Be specific about your goals; and push for more details as tips for women to get more constructive feedback. What has been your experience in using these approaches? Do you have additional tips to share to help close the feedback gap most women experience in their work environments?
What ideas do you have to champion other women at work to give them input that will help them learn and grow?
What has your experience been giving and receiving feedback? Do you feel like giving and receiving feedback becomes easier with more practice?
What is the most important outcome of giving and receiving feedback?