It’s a wonderful thing to have a mentor in your life. Someone to whom you can turn for advice, guidance and support is something that I have been privileged to have in my professional life. I’ve also been lucky enough to have great role models during my younger, more formative years. Many of the work practices, ethics and disciplines that I use, are an unconscious emulation of what I have learned from these special people, who have contributed generously and wisely to my personal and professional development. I owe them a debt of gratitude and attribute many of my landmark achievements and successes to their coaching and mentoring of me.
Now that I have young children myself, I am always conscious of being the best role model I can be, for them. Naturally, at this stage, the messages I convey to my kids is simplistic: the value of accountability, of hard work, of structure and, of course, the big payoff is the rewards — the fun, the adventure, the travel. At least twice a year the children travel with me. I really do love my job and the industry in which I work, so it’s not hard to translate my enthusiasm and passion for what I do, into kid-speak. In regards to being a career related role model, I am keen to convey many of the principles that have been passed on to me.
Whenever I reflect upon my career so far, I am often struck by how truly blessed I have been to have found my talent and a niche for it, to have met people who have helped me in my education and my work, and latterly, to be in a field where I can work virtually anywhere, so that I can be there for my family. With a new baby on the way — this last aspect of my profession is one I increasingly value. The number of international speaking engagements that I undertake will naturally be cut back, but otherwise, I can continue with all my other commitments.
I started thinking how much harder it must be for someone who has no mentor, no coach, no role model and no clue of how to use their gifts, no clear idea of which work environment they will best thrive in, of what options and opportunities might be available to them, and of how best to pursue these. As we progress through our work life, there are many decisions to be made around career opportunities, career diversification, even a career change, and so on. These become more complex when we reach the point of wanting to make the best decisions in consideration of our children, husband and other personal commitments.
Fortunately, there are ways anyone can access the level of support and experience they may need. There are coaches and mentoring programs for just about everything now. Choose the right individual to help you, and you can improve just about any life or business area and, you will have found a confidante, friend and role model.
If you also work in the tech sector, I’m happy to provide any suggestions or recommendations that I can, of where you might find such sources and resources to help. If you’re interested in stories and experiences by other women, check our Women in Technology community at IT Unity. If you specifically are looking for a personal or professional coach you might wish to check out www.dragonsisters.com.au.