4 January 2023
In November, Dharmishta Patel, a Senior Implementation Consultant in our Customer Success team, attended a session hosted by WID (Women in Data). The event, which was run in affiliation with AWS and Capgemini, was called ‘Personalised Mentoring and Networking,’ and welcomed an array of attendees, including experienced professionals and those looking to learn from them.
Dharmishta was excited to be invited to the event to be a mentor. She saw it as a great opportunity to sharpen her leadership skills, and to expand her network. We caught up with Dharmishta to understand more about the event.
Well, first of all – the event was hosted at Amazon’s beautiful new UK headquarters, and it was just amazing! The first thing we did was gather together to meet and mingle, and enjoy some food and drinks, and then we took our seats in our designated conference room. There, the team introduced all of the things we would get up to that day.
We then were lucky enough to watch a very interesting panel session with members from Capgemini and AWS. This session focused on the speakers’ experiences of mentoring – how they had found it valuable, what they had learned from it, things like that.
I was really interested to hear that the speakers felt that their mentoring / mentee experiences had helped them with their professional authenticity and influence.
They explained that mentees often require support, but just giving them the answer is not always the correct approach.
Instead, the mentor should ask the correct questions and enable their mentee to make decisions themselves. This helps the mentee to think deeper and grow in confidence.
It was interesting to hear how having a role model can help in different stages of your career. Sometimes you need to have non judgemental conversations, or bounce ideas around, or have deeper difficult conversations. Role models can help with all of that.
Here’s how it worked: we were all given a red envelope which contained a card with a QR code (very fun and mysterious!). We were asked to scan the QR code to see the person we were matched with along with details to their LinkedIn profile. We all wore name badges so we could quickly identify and meet our match (in case they didn’t have an image on their LinkedIn page).
Next, we split up into our pairs and the conversations began! It was very interesting to hear that a special analytical algorithm was used to match the mentor with the mentee using a range of criteria from personality traits and behaviour, as well as skills and experience!
My mentee was a young professional Data Analyst named Rosina Todd, who wanted someone to discuss ideas with, to learn from, and to get inspiration from. Rosina’s aspiration is to continue in this space for the next year or so and then hopefully move towards Data Science. The major challenge that she mentioned is a lack of career development in her current role.
It was my role to best understand my mentee’s experiences and the challenges that she was facing. I needed to ask the correct questions to better understand her story.
It was interesting to hear about Rosina’s experiences so far, and what she felt she’d like to work on. For example, she let me know that she had a fantastic team, and a manager who praised and supported her regularly. But at the same time, she often felt under-confident. I noticed that the more questions I asked, the more she opened up.
I shared some of my experiences with her and together we came up with some actions for next steps to help drive her own career forward. I encouraged her to take opportunities offered by her employer, like a Data Science Master Course that was available. She showed interest in QlikSense and Vizlib, so I offered to point her in the correct direction for some training materials, demos, and networks in the community. I assured her that her self motivation, initiative, passion to succeed, and positive recognition by her manager will excel her career in the right direction.
For me, it was about being able to help others and I felt I did that. Women face many challenges in the tech industry. They often don’t have as much dedicated time to develop, and sometimes miss out on the support and recognition they deserve.
I love this question! I would say – always ensure that the company you work for has established a process for resolving discrimination issues. Being a woman in data, you need to be bigger and braver, and ensure your ideas and conversations are impactful. You will have to put extra effort in to be influential. I would encourage networking with the female community of data experts to share ideas, it’s really helpful to receive direction and support. It makes it a little easier when you work with like-minded, ambitious individuals!
There are many data related courses out there, so I’d encourage exploring them. I would also say to focus on the areas that you’d like to specialise in, as well as enjoy. The great thing is that once you are qualified in your area, you can venture out. The possibilities are very broad! Being passionate about your career will only help you to excel in it. I would say that problem-solving skills and hands-on experience is fundamental to any career.
Women make up an important segment of the workforce at Vizlib, and the business offers various forms of flexibility. Vizlib opens the door for diversity and creates an open-minded company culture. The team supports and celebrates the differences in their employees. In terms of personal and professional goals, one of Vizlib’s core values is ‘Grow Ourselves and Each Other.’ Each team member receives a training budget and allocated time off for training every year. It’s a great opportunity for everyone.
At Vizlib, we love to learn and grow – and we’re so glad that Dharmishta was able to benefit so much from the session she attended with WID! If you’re interested in joining the team at Vizlib, please explore our current live roles. Want to learn more about Vizlib’s groundbreaking solutions? Book a demo.
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